Film review: Identity Thief is a horribly misjudged comedy-romance


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The Independent Culture

There's a pong of stale ashtrays and ripe hairspray circa 1988 coming off this dismal comedy-romance.

Jason Bateman plays a devoted family man and Denver-based accountant who comes a cropper when his identity is stolen and his new job is threatened. The culprit is a free-spending fattie (Melissa McCarthy) who feels no guilt about ruining lives and defends herself against irate victims by punching them in the throat.

When Bateman catches up with her, he's under no illusion as to her sociopathic personality: "You're disgusting," he tells her. No argument from me. You keep wondering if this horribly misjudged film will get McCarthy off the hook, and of course it does: it turns out her childhood was a miserable round of foster homes. So she was a victim, too!

The odd-couple shenanigans borrow from, and devalue, the likes of Midnight Run and Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Bateman does a good deadpan, but it's small reward for enduring this ghastly emanation.