Road-trip flick runs out of gas early
By Roger Moore
“Oooh, honey, less is more,” the flamboyant hair stylist 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 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.
There are car chases, rowdy sex romps in cheap hotels, and lots of scenes where Diana trots out her skills at lying, conning, stealing, copying credit cards and opening handcuffs.
Though the film-makers might have shot for “Midnight Run” but would have settled for “Due Date,” they wound up only achieving “Guilt Trip.” “Identity Thief” is sputtering long before that mid-movie moment when it turns all sentimental and goes off the rails.
Bateman, the guy America loves to see suffer, isn’t just the passive straight man here. But making Sandy as testy as Diana robs this road trip of comic tension and its punch.
Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.