Friday, 22 March 2013

Review: Identity Thief

World of Blackout 77-Word Film Review

Identity Thief Poster

Identity Thief
Cert: 15 / 111 mins / Dir. Seth Gordon

For a film with this title, I can't work out if the all-round lack of character and individuality is meant to be ironic. Surely we're getting to 'Outrageous Comedy' saturation point, now? That said, prior to Identity Thief, I sat through trailers for Scary Movie 5 and 21 And Over, and this seems like The Seventh Seal compared to those.

So. That trailer. That's the film. Planes, Trains and Automobiles, but with a fat woman instead of a fat man. Add on some half-arsed subplots about a bounty hunter and a couple of gangsters, and we're ready to roll. Still on board?

Now, this is only the third film I've seen Melissa McCarthy in, and I'm already sick of her shit. She's got a lengthy bio on IMDB, and I find it hard to believe she's coasted this far playing the same character, but so far I see no change. I suspect she can pull a much better performance, but I also suspect that she's doing exactly what director, Seth Gordon's asked of her. I don't find myself disliking McCarthy per se, just this thing she's been paid for doing.
Also guilty in this department is Jason Bateman who has been employed to play Jason Bateman™. Again. And I say that as someone who likes Jason Bateman, and Jason Bateman™.

So while Jason autopilots and thinks of the money, Melissa's irritating character consistently drags down what should be a fairly serviceable mismatched-buddy road movie. I can't blame her entirely, but it's like she's got too much personality for a screenplay this clockwork. So we go through the checklist of laughing at her punching people in the throat, laughing at her getting out of breath when she runs for ten metres, and then pausing thoughtfully to check our own preconceptions as she's given a miraculous makeover, some soft music plays and then she cries a bit. The problem is that a) there's no spark of likeability for the first hour that sells us her transformation, and b) Bateman never quite reaches the breaking point his character needs to, in order to reach his own character's destination.

I know I'm looking too deeply into the workings of the film, but they're asking people to pay £10 to watch this. The film's only saving graces are that it is frequently chucklesome, and that it's not as mean-spirited as many of its contemporaries. I can't hate it, because if Seth Gordon's not going to put in the effort, why should I?

At its very best, Identity Thief is completely average, and it doesn't manage that all of the time. For a road movie, there's a horrifying amount of cruise-control being applied here...

Is the trailer representative of the film?

Did I laugh, cry, gasp and sigh when I was supposed to?
Kinda. Ish.

Does it achieve what it sets out to do?

Pay at the cinema, Rent on DVD or just wait for it to be on the telly?
Telly. Do not pay cash to see this movie.

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?

Will I watch it again?
Possibly, when drinking at a friend's house.

Is there a Wilhelm Scream?

And because you won't be happy until I've given it a score...

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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