“I use that card for coffee and gas”
Whenever I see Jason Bateman I always think he seems like such a nice guy who really does have the ability to pull films like this off… if there was a decent enough script behind it. Shamefully this film has sold its box office tickets through the trailer pumping names of recent good films in the faces of the audience to make this effectively a honeytrap of a film. I find it hard to believe a script was written (and if it was it seems like Seth Gordon chose to overrule it) for Melissa McCarthy’s character of Identity Thief Diana as every scene she is in seems dependent on her performing some kind of improv character of ‘obese funny woman’ but in the end these scenes seem more worthy of appearing on some sort of blooper roll on the DVD extra.
I think the question we need to ask ourselves is this, when did fat become the new funny? This seems evident especially for women comedian actresses, I mean come on, I saw a trailer before the film, another ‘comedy’ starring Melissa McCarthy called The Heat and in it she played the exact same style of character to the one she performed here in Identity Thief and again in Bridesmaids and where the latter film is mildly enjoyable it was ruined somewhat by the one obese character who everyone is told to laugh at for no other reason than she is fat. She is fat, so she can’t run, she gets hurt easily, her cheeks and throat all wobble when she talks… I’m not being rude but it’s hard to see the appeal, her very appearance on the screen repulses me from the off not just cos of her appearance but her character too, we are supposed to love her by the end but she is selfish and horrible throughout and then suddenly does a good deed last minute. It doesn’t work. The fact McCarthy does the same thing in every film she is in seems amazing because if a real actor or actress were to do this they would be criticised and eventually pushed aside whereas she seems to be able to pull off the same character in different outfits in ever film. I don’t know if I just don’t like the humour or am speaking for more than just myself but I really cannot stand it in comedy films, I’d rather watch a film that is funny because it is funny rather than pulling James Corden-like gags every two seconds about weight.
For a film about fraud Identity Thief is only guilty of one crime and that is the sheer waste of comedy potential and talent. Jason Bateman, as I have already said is a very funny guy, from Arrested Development to other films I have seen him star in from Horrible Bosses to Paul. I feel there is a lot of potential in him to make a great film soon but it’s a shame this is is his latest outing. His character holds the comedy well and offers some cringe-based laughs as well as some reactional comedy to what’s going on around him but other than that it becomes painfully unfunny and the crew sometimes feel as if they are wanting to be making some sort of crime thriller with car chases, unnecessary violence, mobsters and crime spewing from every scene. The film would have been a lot more successful if it had kept to a more simple route taken by other recent road-trip comedies like Due-Date and melancholy comedy-drama Seeking A Friend For The End of the World.
Identity Thief does, by the end become an incredibly hard film to focus on and take seriously as a comedy. The jokes soon run dry and it even starts to feel like Bateman and McCarthy have given up trying to push something out of this sludgy mess. If you are looking for a good film to go and see at the cinema, avoid this… just, don’t bother.