Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Identity Thief Review

I have no words for some the atrocities that I had to view while watching this movie...Identity Thief is a movie starring Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy, and despite some actual good moments in this film, it is a complete loose cannon that has no aim, focus, or direction (and I wouldn't have been surprised if this movie actually lacked a script).  

The movie opens with Jason Bateman in his office where he gets his identity stolen, and right off the bat the plot already lacks credibility.  As the opening continues it also tries to steal your sympathy (for a man who literally in the first minute of the movie gave all of his social security information to a random caller claiming to protect him from identity theft...yeah, no sympathy for being that idiotic.) for Bateman by pulling the most cliche trick in the book of showing off his children, his family struggling (and by the looks of their house, they honestly weren't), and his loving wife.  This will be a common theme in the movie however where it tries to make you like or dislike a character without formally developing or introducing any of them, most of the characters in this movie just show up with no exposition.  You will constantly see this character's show up that are apparently supposed to be important (although you have no idea who they are) and they'll show up for one 3 minute scene and then disappear for the rest of the movie, or you will see a glimpse of them and they won't show up again for another 20-30 minutes, they are inconsistent and feel as if they could have just been cut out of the film completely. It's the same for the story and character arcs, there is just a switch and it happens, this makes the entire movie extremely convoluted and creates a lack of focus, at one point it's a roadtrip movie, at another it's trying to be a thriller, another it's going to the rom-com route, and then there is one scene that I don't what it would fall under, but it was one of the most horrific things I have seen in the cinema this year.  

Now I will say, Jason Bateman really tries his best to bring this movie foward (as does McCarthy at later points in the film), but the film gives them absolutely nothing to work with, the actual funny parts in this movie have nothing to do with the script or director, but these two actors trying their best to salvage a train wreck.  For example, Bateman's reaction (as an actor) or the mannerisms of McCarthy were what got me to laugh, and that is part of their credit.  However, even if Bateman (and by the second half McCarthy as well) were the best parts of the movie (and no, sadly they aren't the only characters with more than 10 minutes of screentime) it doesn't make their performances overly good, just passable (Although again, that is the script's fault and not their's.)  

Another aspect of the failed script (which inevitably leads to a failed movie) is that not only is it bipolar with the character traits, but there are so many illogicies, so many physical fallacies, that just make absolutely no sense.  What baffles me though, is if the director didn't spend so much time trying to cram so much unneeded junk into the film, it could have been a decent movie.  There were parts of the script where I thought, "This could have been touching," or, "This could have been funny, IF the director had built up to it properly."  There is no build up to the punchline, at the parts it tries to deliver heart there is no build up, it just throws it at you.  To put it broadly, Identity Thief is like a stand up comedian who, instead of giving his jokes a proper exposition before delivering a punchline, gives the answer before he asks the question, the climaxes fail to have any impact because they just happen and then move onto the next scene.  This also has to go with how the director attempts to make the character's the jokes instead of building a character that has jokes ready to tell.  What's especially bad about this is that there is one scene in particular where (SPOILER) Bateman steals his old boss' identity (SPOILER OFF), while the consequences and build up to this could have been powerful, it ends up becoming just insulting and glorifies the crime.  So in the end, all of these 'could have been good' moments with potential end up just making the film a bigger mess than it already is.

It's funny to note that Bateman's face in this picture was my face nearly the entire movie.

 There is one scene in particular that I have to address (there will be spoilers in this paragraph, feel free to skip it), it appears midway through the film and marks the midway point of the movie (and the random tonal shift), and it was out of all the cringe-worthy scenes, not only one of the most tasteless scenes in the movie, but one of the worst that I have had to sit through this year.  To put it bluntly, McCarthy and Bateman (pretending to be spouses as a cover) meet a man at a bar named, "Big Chuck", McCarthy then tells him that Bateman no longer had a dick and that he gets his turn on from watching her do the nasty.  The film then proceeds on an over 10 minute long scene full of McCarthy twerking on 'Big Chuck', and eventually getting it on in a hotel room.  What was apparently intended to be a scene that dropped the house down with laughter was one of the most terrifying things you can see in nationwide films these days.  There was no point to the scene, and it absolutely brought an already bad movie even lower in quality.

While Bateman and McCarthy do what they can with a weak script, Identity Thief ultimately fails on nearly all levels at being a successful comedy.  With few laughs to spare, credited only due to the two leads,  the film brings only illogical plot points, tasteless gags, undeveloped characters, and a tonally inconsistent with it to its table of quality

2.5/10 Sticks of Bamboo

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