Some films are so teeth-grindingly awful that it’s a pleasure to sit back and analyse why. Diana (Melissa McCarthy) is, basically an American Cindy aus Marzahn: weight-challenged, mop-haired, unemployed with a gimme-all-I-can-get attitude that she feeds with identities stolen from the credit cards and ID documents of naive losers.
One such is Sandy Patterson (Jason Bateman), of gender-neutral name and personality, who travels from Colorado to Florida to track down Diana, bring her back to Denver and clear things up with the boss and the police. This could have been a road trip through acquisitive wastelands, searching for ‘being’ and shedding illusions on ‘having’ en route. Very briefly and far too tentatively, the movie eyes the possibility of establishing such a paradigm.
Of course, Diana was left identity-less in a Wisconsin police station as a baby: all she needs is somebody to care. It takes a while for Sandy to cotton on however, and in the meantime, we are subjected to slapstick sex, slapstick violence and slapstick car chases interspersed with a couple of meaningful dialogues and one hammy makeover. Get the picture? Director Seth Gordon didn’t and might want to consider returning full-time to documentaries.
Identity Thief | Directed by Seth Gordon (USA, 2013) with Jason Bateman, Melissa McCarthy, John Cho. Starts March 28.