Identity Thief

Seth Gordon

BY Serena WhitneyPublished Feb 7, 2013

Identity Thief delivers what one expects from a film dumped in a traditionally weak month at the box office, rehashing mediocre, high-concept buddy/road movies from the past.

After coming off a mild success with sleeper hit Horrible Bosses, director Seth Gordon meshes together so many familiar, archetypal, racial, throwback stereotypes and inane comic bits featuring an incompetent obese character leaving themselves open to public mockery that one would think the screenwriters followed the "save the cat!" beat sheet from Todd Phillips's Due Date down to a tee.

Jason Bateman tackles yet another straight-man role, playing Sandy Patterson, an overworked, underpaid employee at a high-end investment firm in Denver, under the thumb of a greedy boss (Jon Favreau), who considers Sandy expendable.

He struggles to provide for his doting wife (Amanda Peet) and two daughters on his salary. Making matters worse, he discovers his identity has been stolen by a con artist named Diana (Melissa McCarthy); she's been running up gigantic credit card bills and getting arrested under Sandy's name.

After making a deal with the useless Denver police department, Sandy goes to Florida to confront Diana, forcing her to return to Denver with him to clear his name. Although Sandy isn't the only one trying to find Diana, with the bumbling duo ending up on the run, with Diana being hunted down by two assassins (Genesis Rodriguez and rapper T.I.) and a bounty hunter (Robert Patrick), all playing villains manufactured only for the ease of the convoluted plot.

There is nothing particularly new, original or even likable in this beyond conventional mainstream comedy. The fact that it relies on its viewers to laugh at moments involving Eric Stonestreet's hairy butt crack, Sandy's unisex name and a superior actress acting like a female Zach Galifianakis and dancing to the Neptunes' greatest hits from almost 15 years ago in multiple scenes just proves how insipid this paint-by-numbers effort truly is.

Identity Thief is yet another situational comedy that depends on a central yet unsuccessful mix-up that's inharmoniously contrived.

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