Identity Thief tells the story of an annoying criminal called Diana that enjoys stealing people’s identities and racking up thousands of dollars debt in their name. Her latest victim is Sandy, a mild mannered man who is about to lose his fancy finance job due to the debt Diana has left him with. His only option is to travel across country and citizen-arrest the woman responsible.
The film plays out like a family-friendly version of Due Date. It even has the same painful issues that film made us suffer through. There are the poorly developed characters; the bland ‘been-there, done-that’ storyline; the random action sequences to make the blandness more appealing; the ‘opposites but at heart the same’ characters (and actors); the cookie-cutter direction that is as bland as the story. It is essentially a remake of Due Date, with pregnancy swapped for identity thief.
The biggest crime is by far the treatment of the characters. Jason Bateman’s Sandy has schizophrenia; he changes personality at least 5 times during the film and whichever character you get is dependent on what that scene needs. He is meant to be the films hero, but there is no real Sandy, just a skeleton for McCarthy’s Diana to interact with. McCarthy fairs better, however Diana proves challenging to root for because she is a heartless asshole for a majority of the run time. The script constantly betrays the characters and in the end you have no idea what either of these characters is about, you may as well have been watching two brick walls talking to each other for two hours.
It is hard to believe that Bateman, McCarthy and director Seth Gordon where once considered potential superstars. Bateman has lost the plot since Arrested Development was cancelled, turning in the same performance over and over again. He hasn’t made a single good film. McCarthy’s career was launched after her Oscar nominated performance in Bridesmaids, which she has now well and truly cashed in (and pissed away) with Identity Thief and upcoming The Heat (I know I shouldn’t write it off already, but have you seen the trailer?).
Despite the failures of these two talent actors, the most depressing for me is Seth Gordon. He directed the excellent documentary The King of Kong, which was hilarious and stands as one of the best docos in recent years. He showed that potentially he could become the next great comedy director, a genre in dire need of new talent. But he has disappointed everybody by following it up with three terrible feature films (Four Holidays, Horrible Bosses and this).
Identity Thief is bottom of the barrel bad. Comedies are easily forgivable as long as they provide hearty laughs, but Identity Thief can’t even offer that. If you’ve seen the trailer then you’ve seen the best of what the film has to offer, and even then there is a good chance you hated that trailer. Three talented careers are further flushed down the toilet with Identity Thief, as will your money if you pay to see it.
The worst movie for 2013 is now a forgone conclusion thanks to Identity Thief.
1.0 out of 5.0