Talented actor wasted in unfunny comedy

22:12, Apr 15 2013
Melissa McCarthy plays a thoroughly unlikeable character in Identity Thief.
Melissa McCarthy plays a thoroughly unlikeable character in Identity Thief.

MOVIE REVIEW: Identity Thief. Starring Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy; directed by Seth Gordon

The trailer for this film was quite amusing. Promising a funny, light-hearted comedy, Identity Thief showed the brilliant Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids, Gilmore Girls) as a loud, overly confident con artist, scamming straight and narrow family man Jason Bateman (Arrested Development) by stealing his identity and profiting from it.

Unfortunately, this trailer was misleading and what was actually shown on screen for just under two hours, was truly terrible.

I shouldn't be surprised though. The man providing the story, Craig Mazin, is responsible for the awful Scary Movie franchise and the abomination that was The Hangover II. Even more concerning is that Mazin has writing credits for the soon to be released Hangover III, promising to destroy all hope of restoring the now trilogy to the greatness of its original (I hope I am proven wrong).

While I'm a huge fan of Melissa McCarthy, and have been since her Gilmore Girls days where she played the quirky and adorable Sookie (not Stackhouse), I was disappointed with her casting in this role. It almost hurt to see her play such a vile character and I feel I now need to re-watch her as Sookie to redeem her in my eyes.

Since the series ended, McCarthy has found a new television series and has made a mark in the movies, most notably as Megan in the 2011 movie Bridesmaids. Megan, although crude, was funny and likeable, but McCarthy's role as the identity thief was hideous even after her back story was told. It was hard to sympathise with her, even in a few scenes where the audience was supposed to.

Identity Thief tried to deliver a few endearing scenes (one featuring Modern Family's Eric Stonestreet), but it was not enough to save this movie that should never have been made as a comedy film. A struggling family, taken advantage of by a scam artist, is not material that is in any way funny and the lack of laughter from the audience proved this.

The subject of identity theft should really be left for movie producers wanting a good thriller or drama.


The Southland Times