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When a mild-mannered businessman learns his identity has been stolen, he hits the road in an attempt to foil the thief -- a trip that puts him in the path of a deceptively harmless-looking woman.
For more about Identity Thief and the Identity Thief Blu-ray release, see Identity Thief Blu-ray Review published by Kenneth Brown on May 28, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Director: Seth Gordon
Writer: Craig Mazin
Starring: Jason Bateman, Melissa McCarthy, Jon Favreau, Amanda Peet, T.I., Morris Chestnut
» See full cast & crew
Identity Thief Blu-ray Review
Blunt force McCarthy...
Reviewed by Kenneth Brown, May 28, 2013
Is there a German word for "an actress, hilarious in small doses, whose overbearing comic stylings threaten an otherwise promising comedy when cast in a leading role"? If not, a suitably catchy term needs to be coined post haste, imported to the States, and made available to anyone following Melissa McCarthy's sudden meteoric rise toward A-list fame. In moderation, McCarthy is every bit the talented scene-stealer her fans insist. Look no further than Bridesmaids or This Is 40. In a barrage, though -- a barrage like Identity Thief -- she rapidly wears out her welcome, abusing any good will afforded her by audiences. Sadly, director Seth Gordon's third comedy is more Four Christmases than Horrible Bosses, and suffers, suffers terribly, from McCarthy overkill.
Denver denizen Sandy Patterson (Jason Bateman, Horrible Bosses, Arrested Development) has a problem. Several problems actually. His credit cards are being declined, criminal charges are pending, his new boss (John Cho, the Harold & Kumar series) is demanding answers, and his wife (Amanda Peet, The Good Wife) is the only one who still trusts her husband. The source of poor Sandy's troubles? An identity thief named Diana (McCarthy), who's spending and splurging her way across Florida with reckless abandon. With the help of a variety of ridiculous plot contrivances, Sandy finds himself on a one-man mission to Florida, determined to drag Diana back to Colorado and clear his name. Nothing goes as planned, of course, and the pair forge an uneasy alliance, dodging everything from a pair of armed heavy hitters (hip hop artist T.I. and Génesis Rodríguez) to a bounty hunter dubbed the Skiptracer (Robert Patrick) to... common sense.
There are a few things you might not gather from Identity Thief's trailers: for starters, it isn't really a comedy, at least not through and through to the bitter end. And I don't say that with dismissive, "it isn't funny" inflection. I didn't find it all that funny (personal taste being as it is), but it doesn't exactly make the attempt. Strung between all the desperately conceived R-rated road-trip bits (of which there are many) is a sappy, sloppy, heart-on-its-sleeve dramedy that's never quite sure what it wants to be at any given moment. Or why it wants to be whatever it's gunning for in any given scene, for that matter. Diana isn't even an antagonist, despite McCarthy's best efforts to the contrary. Oh, the blustering, red- faced rage monster antagonizes Sandy -- incessantly -- and anyone who crosses her path, but Gordon and screenwriter Craig Mazin commit to the impossible early and often: convincing moviegoers to forge a deeper bond with Diana powered by something warmer than disgust or contempt. Unfortunately, the filmmakers, and even sweet, forgiving Sandy (played with wryly sarcastic conviction by the ever-barbed Bateman), visibly struggle to overcome that impossibility, failing to make their boisterous she-thief remotely likable or sympathetic.
The resulting disconnect is paralyzing, rendering any attempt at comedy inert and every attempt at drama a disastrously ineffective miscalculation. McCarthy, Gordon and Mazin go to great lengths to make Diana the epitome of awful; a human being so wretched she's passed the point of no return several times over. Yet here she is, redemption story in hand, with puppy dog eyes, a shoulder shrug and a sob story. It not only doesn't play, it doesn't work, upending the entire film and leaving Bateman to reach, reach and overreach to no avail. Patrick, Cho, Peet, Morris Chestnut and Jon Favreau take turns trying to shoulder Bateman's unbearable burden, but no amount of heave or ho seems able to lift it. By the time Identity Thief and a near-delirious Sandy wind their way from Florida to Colorado, McCarthy has proven herself incapable of turning poison into wine, Bateman looks as if he realizes just how big of a mess he signed onto, and Gordon's Horrible Bosses looks like the director's exception rather than his new rule. I'm sure someone, somewhere will laugh, cry and cheer Sandy and Diana's frenemy connection at every turn. I'm just not that someone.
Identity Thief Blu-ray, Video Quality
Identity Thief boasts a strong and striking digitally sourced 1080p/AVC-encoded video transfer that's almost above reproach. Crush is something of a minor issue, but little else proves problematic. Color and contrast are true to Gordon and DP Javier Aguirresarobe's intentions, skintones are quite natural, primaries pack heat, and black levels are satisfying. Detail also rarely disappoints (despite some inherent softness), as edges are clean and refined, textures are nicely resolved, delineation is decidedly decent and the film's fine veneer of grain remains intact. Moreover, compression artifacts, banding, aliasing and other troublemakers are nowhere to be found, and there aren't any significant anomalies to report.
Identity Thief Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Universal's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track isn't as aggressive or enveloping as its action-dramedy roots might suggest, but it gets the job done, even if somewhat unremarkably. Dialogue is clear and intelligible, without much in the way of prioritization mishaps, and every slap, punch and rev of the engine is given room to work in Identity Thief's neatly compartmentalized soundscape. LFE output is commendable, particularly when all hell breaks loose, and rear speaker activity is relatively engaging, especially given the front-heavy, conversational nature of the film's sound design. Neither is backed by the sort of power or prowess that might grant the experience a measure of true sonic authority, but able-bodied dynamics and notable directionality are present, accounted for and gainfully employed, and the movie couldn't sound much better than it does here.
Identity Thief Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Identity Thief Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Identity Thief is a cup-o-tea comedy; not mine, maybe yours, but far from the tasty Horrible Bosses followup fans of McCarthy or Bateman have been craving. The film fares well on Blu-ray at least, with a solid video presentation and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track, but a relative absence of extensive supplemental content suggests a lack of confidence more than a lack of insight.
Identity Thief: Other Editions
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Identity Thief Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Exclusive Giveaway: Identity Thief Blu-ray Prize Packs - May 30, 2013
Blu-ray.com and Universal Studios Home Entertainment are offering five members an opportunity to win a Blu-ray prize pack featuring director Seth Gordon's Identity Thief, which streets on June 4th. Each winner will receive a Blu-ray copy of Identity Thief, Bridesmaids ...
• Identity Thief Blu-ray - April 2, 2013
Universal Studios Home Entertainment has announced and detailed the Blu-ray/DVD/UltraViolet Combo Pack release of director Seth Gordon's Identity Thief, starring Jason Bateman, Melissa McCarthy, Jon Favreau, Amanda Peet, John Cho and Robert Patrick. The uproarious, ...
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