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Somebody Stole the Funny: Identity Thief Trailer

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Trailers | September 27, 2012 | Comments ()


identity-thief-posters.jpg

Pretty much everything about this movie says that it should be good. It's got Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy, a solid selection of recognizable faces in small roles to fill out the fun (Jon Favreau, Amanda Peet, John Cho, Robert Patrick), and a decent director (Seth Gordon). Too bad they forgot to include the funny parts. Here's the trailer, which is convincing evidence that sometimes talented people just aren't enough and a pit of suck can devour the best of intentions:

If trailers have all the best parts of the film, then the feature length version of this must be a buzzsaw colonoscopy.

Here's the plot summary in case you need to take a nap:

Horrible Bosses' Jason Bateman and Bridesmaids' Melissa McCarthy lead the cast of Identity Thief, an all-star comedy in which a regular guy is forced to extreme measures to clear his name. With everything to lose after his identity is stolen, he'll find out how crazed you can get trying to settle a bad credit score.

Unlimited funds have allowed Diana (McCarthy) to live it up on the outskirts of Miami, where the queen of retail buys whatever strikes her fancy. There's only one glitch: The ID she's using to finance these sprees reads "Sandy Bigelow Patterson"... and it belongs to an accounts rep (Bateman) who lives halfway across the U.S.

With only one week to hunt down the con artist before his world implodes, the real Sandy Bigelow Patterson heads south to confront the woman with an all-access pass to his life. And as he attempts to bribe, coax and wrangle her the 2,000 miles to Denver, one easy target will discover just how tough it is to get your name back.

See the problem with the film is that it inverts the sympathy of the characters. Oh sure there is the obvious eye roll nitpicking that Bateman's character should just call the damned police, that the situation itself is just not particularly funny, but there's a more fundamental problem. The one who suffers is the nice guy and the one grotesquely taking advantage is the asshole. But the film likes its stars too much and asks us to be sympathetic to both of them.

Comedy works when we can laugh at the misfortune of the unsympathetic knowing that it is comeuppance, or when we can laugh at the misfortune of the sympathetic knowing that they will get justice of some sort in the end. Sympathizing with both sides is weak sauce and takes all the edge off of the comedy.



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Comments Are Welcome, Jerks Will Be Banned


  • Devin McMusters

    I love her. I've wanted to punch Jason Bateman in the face for years. I hope it knocked the smarm off.

  • bleujayone

    Not feeling any sympathy for McCarthy's character either. The trailer made it very obvious that the authorities knew damn well his identity had been usurped. They already had proof someone else was responsible. His cross-country bounty hunt/kidnapping was unnecessary. Rest assured if one were forced to do the now rather easy jobs of both the Federals and the Florida police should be doing, marching said naughty fraud back to Colorado would not be the option. Dumping their lifeless carcass in a gator-infested everglade might be though.

    The one smile I got out of this was his wife saying, "You cant do this, you're not Batman!" No, he's better. Batman would only take the asshole to jail. BATEMAN on the other hand, will dice her thieving ass up into bite-sized chunks to the smooth tunes of Huey Lewis & the News.

    Bateman as Bateman.....the universe may not cancel itself out, but it might be feel a little turbulence from the awesome....even if only in my mind.

  • alannaofdoom

    When the trailer makes the same joke twice - she punches him in the throat! Unexpectedly! - you know it's going to be rough.

  • TheOriginalMRod

    Yeah, this kind of reminds my of Very Bad Things... that movie reaffirmed my belief in Hell and Satan... and I had totally given up on them.

    Not to mention I really can't stand to see anything bad happen to Jason Bateman. They should make plush dolls of him because he is so cuddly.

  • e jerry powell

    Bateman looks like Broke Dick Bob from Enzyte in that poster. Scares the erection right off me.

  • Dragonchild

    I agree, but about Bob. . . As far as I know Bob's just a guy a crooked company hired for their ad, and he did the job he was paid for. Actually, I don't see how he could've done it any better. Granted we can't really tell what his talents are beyond making a silly grin, but if I was gonna make a comedy film I'd extend an audition invite.

  • e jerry powell

    Personally, I just want to make sure his dick stays good and broke.

  • SugarSmak

    I will have to go see this because a friend of mine is in it (the guy working at the gas station in the trailer)...but I'm pretty sure I won't like it. But, of course, that's what flasks and big handbags are for, in'nit?

  • e jerry powell

    Actually, you can get a box of Franzia and drain that puppy into this. (Or this, if you're larger than a 35C and don't mind looking pregnant.)

  • Wembley

    'we can laugh at the misfortune of the sympathetic knowing that they will get justice of some sort in the end'

    So the McCarthy character receives a bullet in the head-like ALL identity thieves deserve?
    But, I'm guessing they end up friends in the end. Wonder if your precious Arrested Development was delayed so Bateman could make the POS.

  • greene

    I'm confused- have you seen the movie? Cause from the trailer, I don't see any sympathy for the McCarthy character.

  • JenVegas

    me neither but for some reason i really like watching her punch bateman in the throat....i'm having a pretty crap week though, that might be why.

  • Maybe the marketing people are real clever and subversive like, and they hate the fact that most comedy trailers pack all their best jokes in and ruin them and so they decided to go against the grain and bring back some integrity to the enterprise.
    DIDN'T THINK OF THAT, DID YOU, STEVE, HUH!
    But yeah, no, this film will totally suck yoghurt-dipped monkey balls and will be yet another waste of Bateman's (I think it's fair to say) colossal talent.

  • Arran

    Huh? I thought that looked pretty amusing, myself.

  • Kate

    "Sympathizing with both sides is weak sauce and takes all the edge off of the comedy."

    Planes, Trains & Automobiles...

  • Jill

    advantage Kate

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