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Just about everyone knows someone who has been bullied, in ways big and small. Understandably, though, many victims are reluctant to speak about their experiences. We found some who aren't.
By Ellen Pham, movie/tv critic
Grade: **, 2/5 asterisks
Don’t believe the glossy, cleverly edited trailer for Identity Thief — it hardly deserves to be called a comedy. The jokes fall flat, relying on cheap laughs and awkward situations. Despite obvious efforts, the talented cast gets overshadowed by a dry script and unnecessary characters.
Frustrated with his boss and lack of promotion, Sandy Patterson (Jason Bateman) takes a leap of faith and joins the company his friend just started. But after discovering his identity was stolen by Diana (Melissa McCarthy), Sandy could lose his new job unless he convinces Diana to confess to her crimes. It doesn’t take long before Sandy realizes the only way to do that is to bring her to the company himself.
Bateman and McCarthy work well together. Bateman is superb at keeping up with McCarthy’s quick verbal jabs and acts as an excellent contrast to McCarthy’s character; Sandy is logical and reserved while Diana is wild and indulgent. McCarthy, herself, is wonderful. She’s entertaining and vivacious even within the confines of a banal road adventure. It’s off base to say McCarthy’s humor is a result of her size — what’s important is her unwavering confidence, which is perfect for playing Diana.
The film brings in random characters such as a violent duo assigned to kill Diana for her crimes, but their importance to the story line is so miniscule that if edited out no one would miss them. For those wary of strong language and sexual innuendos, Identity Thief is not for you. The movie features both with the latter incorporated in a less tasteful manner.
The road adventure premise has been way overdone in Hollywood, but if it must be done at least let it possess a little consistency or genuine humor to make up for the lack of originality. Identity Thief desperately fails to do this. It’s sloppy and all over the place, with rather underwhelming dialogue to boot.
This time of year is infamous for duds. Let’s face it, awards season for last year’s hits is front and center now, and upcoming movies have little motivation to evoke depth and cohesiveness. But that still doesn’t mean films should throw away precious opportunities to be phenomenal, especially when the competition is scarce.
Ellen Pham is a junior at Chamberlain High.