Identity Thief Movie Review

by Katie Gile
On a lazy morning before work, you decide to stop at a gas station and get yourself a little pick-me-up. As you pay for a cup of coffee and an impulse-buy pack of gum, your rarely used credit card is declined. Your identity has been stolen, and what’s worse, your credit is destroyed.
It’s a predicament familiar to far too many a wide-eyed consumer and it’s the start of a hugely hilarious adventure for Sandy Bigelow Patterson in Director Seth Gordon’s comedy, Identity Thief.
But unlike the common consumer, who would jump through the requisite legal hoops and deal with a debt that will never be repaid, Patterson (Jason Bateman) decides to bring the thief (Melissa McCarthy) to justice.
What follows is a delightfully fun and gut-busting ride, full of raucous laughs and incredible energy.
In the same slapstick vein as Bridesmaids and Horrible Bosses, Identity Thief is liberal with physical gags and throat-punches. Screenwriter Craig Mazin delivers a frenzied script, its quick pacing and one-two combos of sweetness and bawdy laughs keeping it from taking itself too seriously. Though its attempt to be a little sentimental felt forced, Mazin’s use of both witty one-liners and outrageous laughs did well to counteract it. By the time the credits roll, “Identity Thief” wants to make you laugh and on that front, it succeeds brilliantly.
As identity thief Diana (or Sandy, or whoever), Melissa McCarthy is every bit the solid character actress that fans will recognize. With one of the first major roles she’s scored since last year’s “Bridesmaids,” McCarthy’s tremendous energy steals the show. As Diana, she surrounds herself with excess and buries herself in stuff. McCarthy plays up the idea of “too much” in every way, from her mannerisms and expressions to her outrageous ensembles and drag-queen make-up. But it’s her ability to bring soul and substance while delivering a great comedic bit that makes her a perfect half of this funny film.
As the Yin to McCarthy’s Yang, Jason Bateman is excellent as Sandy Bigelow Patterson. Bateman’s fans will appreciate a return of his quick-talking and quietly snide style, which serves as an excellent match to McCarthy’s hammier moments. Bateman holds his own as Patterson, offering hilarity in the quiet moments and providing structure to the film. His ability to maintain focus and reason in the face of the ridiculous provides a perfect balance throughout. As a team, Bateman’s gravity serves as an excellent match for McCarthy’s mania.
With a mostly solid, but sometimes uneven pace and a well-matched pair of leads, “Identity Thief” was a high-energy but of fun. Like the popcorn crunched upon between belly laughs, this was light-hearted fun. It’s well worth a watch for the laughs and a good time. For all the jokes it has to offer and its (mostly) lightning-fast pace, “Identity Thief” wasn’t a game-changer, but it was a great addition to the resumes of extremely funny actors.