MOVIE: ** (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: ** (out of 5)
Jason Bateman as SANDY PATTERSON
Melissa McCarthy as DIANA
Jon Favreau as HAROLD CORNISH
Amanda Peet as TRISH PATTERSON
T.I. as JULIAN
Genesis Rodriguez as MARISOL
Morris Chestnut as DETECTIVE REILLY
John Cho as DANIEL CASEY
Robert Patrick as SKIPTRACER
Directed by: Seth Gordon
BY KEVIN CARR
“Identity Thief” was one of the first big hits of 2013, and while I can respect it for what it accomplished in theaters, I can’t say it was worth the trip.
In the film, Jason Bateman stars as a man named Sandy Patterson (named after Sandy Koufax) who has his identity stolen by an obnoxious woman (Melissa McCarthy) in Florida. In order to clear his name, Sandy has to go down to Florida to bring her back to Colorado to face the music. Along the way, it evolves into a road movie where the two characters learn a little more about each other as human beings.
As much as I can, and when it is made available to me, I will often check out a movie I didn’t like on home video to give it a second chance. Sometimes, the viewing at home changes my opinion enough to give it a positive review. However, more often than not, my opinion stays the same.
Watching “Identity Thief” a second time on Blu-ray only reinforced my initial feelings. That’s not to say that I hated the movie, but it wasn’t really that great of a film.
There are two huge stumbling blocks in the movie, and they exist at the premise level, so it’s very hard to look past them just to get to the comedy. First of all, had Sandy Patterson been some poor slob working 9 to 5 in an office like the film “Office Space,” I could buy it. However, that’s not what he does. He is, in fact, involved intimately with finance at his job. In short, he should know better than to just rattle off his personal information to just anyone who calls with an offer… yet he does. After this happens, it becomes very hard to feel sorry for what happens to him.
The second big problem is that the film treats identity theft the way the world treated it ten or fifteen years ago. Nowadays, the level of destruction that is done to his accounts simply couldn’t happen. No one gets arrested and detained on out-of-state arrest warrants without at least a glance at a mug shot. Credit cards don’t let weeks of debt rack up to $14,000 in out-of-state purchases when there’s virtually never any activity on the card. Fiat financiers don’t magically start sending collection notices on new cars driven off the lot weeks before.
It’s not that I’m looking for a realistic view of identity theft in this movie. It’s just a stupid comedy, after all. However, I expect a certain level of work to be done, and it’s not done here. At all.
Still, once you get past the stretched-thin premise and deliver, there are some funny moments. Jason Bateman is always fantastic at playing the straight man, and he has a decent amount of chemistry with Melissa McCarthy. At the very least, it’s fun to watch them when they’re on screen together.
I didn’t hate this movie, but I was expected much more, even the second time around.
The Blu-ray comes in a box set with the DVD, Digital Copy and UltraViolet streaming capabilities. For such a big hit and high-level of a film, the bonus materials are somewhat slim. Exclusive features to the Blu-ray include a slate of alternate takes, the behind-the-scenes featurette “Scene Stealing: Capturing the Humor of Identity Thief” and the quite painful in-character bit with Robert Patrick called “The Skiptracer’s Van Tour.”
Features available on both the DVD and Blu-ray include a gag reel and the general “Making of Identity Thief.” Overall, fans of the actors will enjoy the extra comedy bits. The behind-the-scenes moments are a bit trite, with the cast and crew heaping a bit too much praise on each other, yielding a generic packaged product. However, this isn’t surprising for such a middling generic package of a film.