Debilitatingly witless, "Identity Thief" strands
The screenwriter of "Identity Thief," Craig Mazin, gave us
All McCarthy has to do is show up, and the audience likes her, even when the audience is supposed to hate her, or when "Identity Thief" treats her character — a brazen Florida con woman living large on the Visas of others — like a feral, subhuman pathos dispenser.
When Denver accounts representative Sandy Patterson, played by Bateman, discovers his identity has been purloined and his credit cards are maxed out, trashing his good name, his employer (
We're meant to see Diana, McCarthy's character, as a funny/sad victim of circumstance, whose suburban Orlando home is stuffed with ill-gotten blenders and makeup, with a Jet Ski in the front yard. Sandy, her temperamental opposite, is presented as a milquetoast family man (
Bateman's a seriously skillful actor. But with inferior material, his fallback line reading becomes the sardonic, too-cool-for-the-room underreaction, which isn't the same thing as "milquetoast." He has the air of a cynical but bored winner, a man fighting his own irritation with everyone around him. That's not quite right for the audience-identification figure at the center of "Identity Thief."
As in "Planes, Trains and Automobiles," the adversary we think we know at the outset (
Director Seth Gordon made