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Identity Thief

Movie Details

Identity Thief
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Date: 2013-02-08 Nationwide
  • Running Time: 111 min.
  • Director: Seth Gordon
  • Cast: Melissa McCarthy, Jason Bateman, John Cho, Jon Favreau, Amanda Peet, Maggie Elizabeth Jones, Robert Patrick, Genesis Rodriguez, Eric Stonestreet, Jonathan Banks
  • Producers: Scott Stuber, Jason Bateman, Pamela Abdy
  • Writers: Craig Mazin, Jerry Eeten
  • Distributor: Universal Pictures
  • Official Site: Identity Thief Official Site

Here's a breakthrough, of a sort: The funniest scenes in Identity Thief are of Melissa McCarthy and Jason Bateman beating the hell out of each other. McCarthy-- playing a multi-named serial liar and credit-card fraud artist we'll call Diana-- clocks Jason Bateman with a vicious neck punch. Bateman-- as yet another sane fellow whose life is infested with plot-driving crazies--clocks, tackles, and even brains her with the stolen bric-a-brac that clutters Diana's home. I'm not going to argue that this man hitting this woman for laughs is a progressive triumph. But it is at least a victory for whatever is the opposite of sexism. McCarthy gets bashed about like a Stooge, and she bashes back with riotous abandon. Sadly, the rest of the movie is a shambles. So, let it be said, this one time only: Here is a comedy that really could use more inter-gender violence. (I’ll leave it to you to parse the sexual politics of McCarthy's insult after Bateman beans her with a knickknack: "You throw like a fuckin' girl!") The rest of the film, they’re solo acts, each doing what audiences expect: She yells and exhibits an unsocialized horniness; he regards her with dismay and disgust. Yes, disgust. There's no way around it: The producers of Identity Thief seem to find McCarthy's real-world body loathsome. Her big comic sex scene is ruined by director Seth Gordon's refusal to shoot her below the chin, and her Diana is later freighted with a sad-clown back story and given a princess makeover--penance, perhaps, for having roughhoused like the boys in the first reel.

Alan Scherstuhl

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