Movie Reviews

'Identity Thief' (2013) Movie Review

The comedy bar continues to be set lower and lower

Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy in Identity Thief
Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy in Identity Thief
Photo: Universal Pictures

Identity Thief is hardly worthy of a review. It's a consistently bad comedy that's entirely dull throughout. A business man (Jason Bateman) stupidly gives his personal information to a stranger over the phone, she subsequently steals his identity, ruins his credit and his new job as VP at a new investment firm is put in jeopardy. Seeing how it can take up to a year to clear his good name, this guy decides to hunt the woman down himself. "Hilarity" ensues.

'Identity Thief'
Grade: D

Identity Thief"Identity Thief" is a Universal Pictures release, directed by and is rated R for sexual content and language. The running time is .

The cast includes , , , , , , , , , and .

For more information on this film including pictures, trailers and a detailed synopsis .

There is so little to say about this movie it's alarming. When you're watching a comedy you're aware of when the filmmakers think you should laugh. With Identity Thief those moments involved a series of throat punches, name-calling and a sex scene involving Melissa McCarthy and a Midwest cowboy (Eric Stonestreet) who doesn't mind having sex with another man's wife. It's so uneventful, I actually have little, to nothing else to say.

For the sake of a review, I guess I could ponder the myriad of ways Bateman appears to have given up, at least when it comes to comedy despite his knack for tapping into that certain "something" audiences can so easily relate to. Or I could mention how McCarthy's Hollywood value seems to begin and end with being loud and hurling profanity-laced insults at a rapid pace when she so clearly has much more to offer. She does, however, manage to show some range in a brief, tearful moment, but considering this is supposed to be a comedy, the fact I'm lauding a moment of sincerity should say enough about the film's overall quality.

A countless number of road trip comedies exist, but the only comparison this film is worthy of is the terrible Due Date, which itself was even better than what's seen here, though just as incompetent. Cars will breakdown, short cuts will be taken and trouble will be found with the locals along the way. Go figure.

Written by Craig Mazin (The Hangover Part II, Scary Movie 3 and Scary Movie 4) and directed by Seth Gordon (Four Christmases, Horrible Bosses), the reliance here is on swearing, insults and the aftermath of each. So little attention is paid to even the smallest of details that once boredom sets in you begin to wonder how an investment firm is able to get off the ground in less than 24 hours with an office building fully furnished, glass doors, metallic locks and wall-to-wall HD television screens or just what kind of giant snake can bite in the neck and have no lasting effect. We forgive plot holes like this in good movies, but in bad ones it becomes all there is to discuss.

If any comedy is to be found in the piece it comes in a short scene between Genesis Rodriguez and T.I. who play a pair of killers on McCarthy's tail for pawning off some bad credit cards. The two sit down with the aforementioned cowboy and discuss Midwestern values and I'm quite sure there isn't a curse word used in the entire scene. I understand swearing can emphasize a punch-line, but when it becomes the only source of comedy you begin to show just how flawed your writing has become.

What's most amazing is how studios are beginning to rely on these R-rated comedies for their edgy language and questionable humor and yet how formulaic they all remain. There are no surprises here, all the way up to the final moments where I'm sure you can guess at how all this will turn out and you won't be too far off the mark, and any potential "surprises" won't have you singing the film's praise as much as you'll be rushing for the door, wondering whether you should ask for a refund.

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  • adu

    In other words, go see it with someone you'd hope would never wanna watch a movie with you again?

  • Susan

    The great legacy of the mediocre - at best - The Hangover is this trend of movies.

  • Andrew

    Wow, no score. I don't think I've ever seen a review that wasn't even F worthy.

    • Andrew

      My fault. The score didn't show up on my iPhone.

      • Brad Brevet

        Nah, originally I forgot to put the grade in.

  • Ryguy815

    I'm still probably going to go see this this weekend despite the bad score.

  • Good Grief

    Damn it, I was hoping the missing grade was genuinely part of the review. I thought, "Christ, even 'Piranha 3DD' got a grade. How bad can this be!?"

  • Jordan B.

    "Or I could mention how McCarthy's Hollywood value seems to begin and end with being loud and hurling profanity-laced insults at a rapid pace when she so clearly has much more to offer."

    McCarthy's shtick is so unbelievably annoying, but what more do you think she has to offer? Both her and Rebel Wilson seem to get by on performing the exact same way, and it surprises me that the rest of America thinks that yelling loudly and hurling out insults and obscenities counts as comedy; it's not funny in the least.

    • Brad Brevet

      I think she has actual comedic ability beyond what we've seen and this film shows she may also have some dramatic talent, which I alluded to in the sentence after the one you quoted.

      • Danny

        If you take a quick peek at Melissa MaCarthys filmography you'll see she has been a ton of movies and TV shows before becoming recognizable and up until her hilarious turn in Bridesmaids... doing the loud mouth, inappropriate shtick... that made her recognizable, she was one of those "Oh that person.." actresses and she has quite a bit of range.... I still want to see Identity Thief despite Brads bad review of the movie because I like comedies of all types (save for the awful movies that have been trying to pretend they are "Spoof" movies the last few years, I won't go near those.), Brad is hard on comedies (Though he gave a decent review to That's My Boy, which I still want to see), so I always expect him to give unfavorable reviews to them, I respect his point of view on a lot of them... But I rarely gage my choice in seeing the movie on his reviews, at leasf for comedies.....If it entertains me and makes me laugh for a couple hours I'm ok with it...

        • Susan

          Danny, if it matters, this movie was written by someone who wrote two Scary Movie pictures.

          • Danny

            I read that and it does give me a bit of pause... But the guy also had a hand in writing The Hangover Part II, which I didn't think lived up to the original when I first saw it and I know it has it's flaws... But after I saw it on HBO a couple more times, I realized how funny it actually is... Not a brilliant comedy by any means, but it's a fun one.

    • Susan

      Jordan, I don't think I follow you. McCarthy and Wilson are quite different in their comedic stylings.

      • sTEVE

        I think, and I could be wrong, what he meant was they act the same way in all of their roles, not that they act the same as each other.

        However, it's possible I misinterpreted that as well.

  • AS

    Hey Brad, what are some R rated comedies that you hold in high esteem?

    • Newbourne

      He liked Bridesmaids and The Hangover.

      • Trent

        How could anyone possibly like Bridesmaids? It's the same as Identity Thief, it's just forcing rauchyness and just plain unfunny.

  • Connor420

    Well I'm skipping this, even though I do live in Colorado and this is where it takes place. Regardless of whether the new Die Hard gets negative reviews or not, I'm still seeing it.

  • SmartFilm

    The biggest thing that I'm not getting about most reviews of this film around the internet is everyone's comment that Melissa McCarthy could be doing soooo much more with her talent and is wasting it away. All I can think is: really? Really?! What convinced the world that McCarthy has so much talent? Was it shitting in a sink? Was their something else I missed outside of her ridiculously off kilter Oscar nomination for 'Bridesmaids'? I'm actually being serious here. You didn't see people saying- "Oh Zach Galifianakis is wasting his talent on 'Due Date'" No, he's a comedy actor and the majority of comedies are just bad. Even the best in the comedy business get duds, look at Jim Carey and Ben Stiller. I just don't understand the overwhelming love for McCarthy and her "craft". Can someone explain it to me?!