Identity Thief

Posted 1:16pm on Thursday, Feb. 07, 2013

R (sexual content, strong language); 110 min.

"Oooh, honey, less is more," the flamboyant hairstylist whispers, out of earshot, at Diana (Melissa McCarthy) as she bombs her head with hairspray and trowels on the eye shadow.

That's never the case with McCarthy, the bawdy, rude, larger-than-life comic whose big movie break was Bridesmaids. She riffs, tosses back belts of booze and punches galore as the crass and crude title character in Identity Thief.

But "less is more" might have helped this cumbersome comedy that has Sandy, Jason Bateman's mild-mannered office drone, trying to wrestle Diana across the country to save his job, clear his criminal and credit records, and make this opportunistic crook see the consequences of her actions.

It's overstuffed with villains, from Sandy's sneering, Ayn Rand-quoting boss (Jon Favreau) who greedily keeps all the company profits for himself, to the two thugs (Genesis Rodriguez and T.I.) chasing Diane for ripping them off, to those thugs' imprisoned boss (Jonathan Banks) who wants Diana dead, to the skip tracer (Robert Patrick) determined to fetch her for his bail bondsman client.

While the filmmakers might have shot for Midnight Run but would have settled for Due Date, they wound up only achieving Guilt Trip.

There are some huge laughs in this. But making Sandy as testy as Diana, straight off, deprives this road trip of its comic tension. So as much righteous fun as it is to see the woman who has stolen unisex Sandy's name and credit and wrecked his life get clocked with a guitar, having it happen 13 minutes into the film robs Identity Thief of its punch.

-- Roger Moore, McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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