Writers:-Craig Mazin (screenplay), Jerry Eeten
Stars:-Jason Bateman, Melissa McCarthy, John Cho
Sandy Bigelow Patterson (Jason Bateman) is a man with a good job, a loving wife, two beautiful daughters with a third on the way, and a pretty good life. He's kind of stepped on at work, but who isn't? He's got plans for his future, though, and that's to crawl his way up the corporate ladder. However, there are some complications with that future plan. Namely, Sandy Bigelow Patterson (Melissa McCarthy). Or, perhaps, Diana. Or, perhaps, Marla. Well, whatever her current alias, her real name remains a mystery, so we'll just call her Nameless.
Nameless is a professional credit card thief. She runs up a big bill at the expense of an unwitting person, she makes phone calls and assaults bartenders, and she makes Sandy's life a living hell thanks to her exploits and antics. When Nameless's actions put Sandy's life at risk, he realizes there's only one way to put an end to Nameless's trail of credit card receipts and mangled credit ratings. He has to track her down and drag her back to Colorado from her home in Winter Park, Florida.
As it turns out, Nameless is a wanted woman, in more ways than one. With gangsters on one side and a bounty hunter on the other, it's clear that the two Sandy Bigelow Pattersons may not even be able to survive, let alone clear Sandy's name for you for free. Cue the cross-country road trip.
Identity Thief is sold on the strength of its two leads. As a road movie, you kind of have to have good people in the main roles because they're going to be on screen for a long time and have to hold the audience. In Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy, you have two such people. Bateman, of course, was the lead of the ensemble of Arrested Development and has that kind of dry, straight man presence that works with someone like McCarthy to bounce off of. As for McCarthy, she stole scene after scene from better-known actors in Bridesmaids, and she's the main draw here (indeed, the movie was rewritten for a woman after McCarthy's turn in Bridesmaids). She's a really good comic actress, even when she's not wearing a crazy wig and covered in Tammy Faye Bakker clown makeup.
The script gives McCarthy ample opportunities to show off her skills. She carries the comic weight but also carries a lot of the dramatic weight as well. Given that her character is a hopeless liar, she's able to spin multiple stories to multiple people, and that allows the talented actress behind the talented actress to really impress with her skills, demonstrating strong comic timing, and a keen eye for drama. She's great, but the movie ends up being uneven, which might have something to do to with screenwriter Craig Mazin. There are big gaps in the laughs when the script turns dangerously maudlin; the inconsistency makes it difficult to identify with McCarthy's character as well.
Director Seth Gordon is great at turning real-life drama into entertaining docum