Reel Reviews: Actors suffer from identity crises

Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy kill 90 minutes in Identity Thief.  - Universal Pictures
Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy kill 90 minutes in Identity Thief.
— image credit: Universal Pictures

Sandy Bigelow Patterson (Jason Bateman) is a mild-mannered businessman who has his identity stolen by Diane (Melissa McCarthy). With the police unable to help him and his employment dependent upon his financial reputation, Patterson must track down and drag back his identity thief.

We say, “Watch out for smooth talking telemarketers.”

HOWE: McCarthy good. Bateman great. Identity Thief, lousy piece of trash. I really like McCarthy. I think she is funny, but only in small doses like when she was in This is Forty. In this, as a lead role, I got tired of her, or maybe it was just her character. Bateman, on the other hand, seems to play the same roles in every movie that he stars in. I think he’s a good actor. I would just like to see him take a small step sidewards and take on a role that he can sink his teeth into.

TAYLOR: McCarthy can act. I think it’s likely that she’s a very good actor, maybe even great, but because she’s become popular at playing large and obnoxious she’s stuck cashing in on these type of roles. I noticed she could act in this film because her character is an actor who has to play roles to live the criminal life she leads.

When “Diane” (her character doesn’t know her real name) is playing sad, or hurt, it was different than when she was truly sad or hurt. I can foresee McCarthy showing us her greatness in the future, after she develops some scruples. Jason Bateman, on the other hand, is a tall glass of tepid water.

HOWE: Again like most comedy movies we see nowadays, they show all the best bits in the trailers. The movie companies get you hooked on what looks like a funny movie only to let you down big time when that moment arrives. (Just like the promise of England’s football team doing well at the World Cup.)

TAYLOR: Well, there was plenty of laughter from the audience, which was packed, but I wasn’t laughing. Admittedly, I have a stranger sense of humour. It takes a little more than throat punching and cussing to tickle my funny bone. In America this movie is rated R. In Canada it’s 14A, and I think this is a fitting rating. There’s nothing in this film a teenager couldn’t handle.

HOWE: Director Seth Gordon has brought us movies of the same calibre in the past: Horrible Bosses or Four Christmases, just to name a couple. If these little nuggets made you chuckle then Identity Thief could be right up your street. For me, I’ve had funnier trips to the dentist.

TAYLOR: On the whole, this film is full of unwarranted coincidences, cheap plot devices, stereotypes bordering on the level of television programming and reasons to laugh at the misfortunes of others. If that is your cup of tea, help yourself to a couple lumps. I thought it was just more Hollywood regurgitation.

—   Taylor gives Identity Thief 2 years in jail out of 5.

— Howe gives it 2 belt whips out of 5.

The film is currently showing at the Galaxy Cinemas in Vernon.

— Brian Taylor and Peter Howe are movie reviewers based in Vernon, B.C. Their column, Reel Reviews, appears in The Morning Star every Friday and Sunday.


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