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“Identity Thief” (2013) Review

Identity Thief poster

To preface this review, I have to say that I am not a big fan of crude humor. At times, it works. But when films become over saturated with the same old tasteless humor and empty jokes, I cannot get into them. Going into “Identity Thief”, I wasn’t expecting much…. And I left feeling that the film had underachieved compared to my low expectations.

First, the plot to “Identity Thief” is somewhat tolerable if viewed with the lowered expectations of a comedy plot. Yet, the film finds ways to rope its characters into far-fetched and contrived situations. The characters themselves are poorly developed, and McCarthy seems to be as superhumanly indestructible as an old Nokia phone. The worst part is that the film could end at about the twenty-minute mark (you mean to tell me McCarthy didn’t have one other ID left she could have used at the airport out of the dozens at her rental house?) and would have likely been better off if it had.

To make the story worse, Seth Gordon feels the need to try to make the audience connect with the characters in such poor ways. Characters are developed entirely in one direction, yet at any time the film will take a complete 180-degree turn regarding its stance on these characters. The moral system in the film is inherently flawed, and results in the film often feeling like it is forcing you to connect with its characters when your mind is pushing you in a completely opposite direction.

Worse yet, the humor propelling the film is tasteless. There is an extremely heavy reliance on the uncreative, crude bag of tricks of cranking out joke after joke involving over-the-top violence, lewd sexual content, and generally mindless writing. Did I mention that I found maybe 2-3 parts of the film legitimately funny? Maybe I’m just getting old….

I can imagine Jason Bateman saying here, "wait, this is the script I signed up for?"

I can imagine Jason Bateman saying here, “wait, this is the script I signed up for?”

Glaring negatives aside, Bateman and McCarthy actually do an acceptable job in portraying the uninspired parts they were given, and do quite a decent job playing off of each other. If it wasn’t for these two stars holding this film together, there would little positive to talk about. Still, their performances cannot redeem the many negatives in “Identity Thief”.

“Identity Thief” is an exercise in uninspired humor, the kind that seems all too common in theaters anymore. The story, characters, and humor are all shoddily designed. At one point, Bateman actually comments to McCarthy, “are you even human?” When a film’s characters have to ask questions about the film’s lunacy, you have a problem. Overall, “Identity Thief” lacks much enjoyability, and as such I cannot really recommend this to the majority of viewers.

Final Score: 3.0/10


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