Sunday 19 November 2017

Crime caper in Florida sunshine

Identity Thief (15A, general release, 111 minutes)

Paul Whitington

In Bridesmaids and the TV sitcom Mike and Molly, Melissa McCarthy has proved herself a charismatic and talented comedienne.

Though she shares top billing here with Jason Bateman, Identity Thief is very much her film: she does most of the heavy lifting, playing a hysterical and chronically lonely woman called Diana who uses crime to fill her empty life.

The fact that Seth Gordon's film is blindingly unfunny is no fault of hers, nor Bateman's for that matter. Despite their best efforts, a crude script and clumsy direction ensure that Identity Thief is bereft of a single genuine laugh.

Bateman plays Sandy Patterson, a hard-working Denver financial executive who's filling his car with petrol one morning when his credit card is refused.

He subsequently discovers that his identity has been stolen by someone who's roaring through the state of Florida spending his money like a drunken sailor.

Sandy goes to the Denver police, but they're not sympathetic, and it becomes clear that if he wants to clear his good name he'll have to find the culprit himself. It doesn't take him long to track down Diana in Florida, but she soon draws him into her vortex of chaos.

Gordon's film is essentially a road movie along the lines of Midnight Run, but comparisons with Martin Brest's charming 1980s comedy are not flattering.

The comedy in this film is shrill and tasteless, and the harder McCarthy and Bateman try to bring a hackneyed script to life, the worse it all seems to get.

Director: Seth Gordon Stars: Jason Bateman, Melissa McCarthy, Jon Favreau, Amanda Peet


Irish Independent

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