Identity Thief

In the opening scene of Identity Thief, financial analyst Sandy Patterson (Jason Bateman) receives a phone call from the Fraud Protection Department at Indenti-Vault Credit Monitoring Service. A woman named Janine informs him that someone has tried to steal his identity. Fortunately, they prevented it in time, but to circumvent future problems, she offers him a free total protection plan that will safeguard his credit against theft or fraud. All she needs from him are his full name, date of birth, and social security number, which he eagerly gives her. Soon his credit cards are maxed out and being declined, creditors are harassing him for thousands of dollars of merchandise he didn’t buy, and the police have arrested him for skipping bail on a felony assault charge in Florida. And you thought your week sucked.

Diana, the woman who made the phone call and stole his identity (Melissa McCarthy), is a consummate con artist who resides in Florida and has been having a grand old time masquerading as Sandy Patterson. She has a fake driver’s license and countless credit cards, which she made herself and has been bingeing on a nonstop spending spree. Meanwhile back in Denver, the real Sandy Patterson is in the pickle of his life, and the police are powerless to help him because the culprit is too far out of their jurisdiction. However, if he were to physically bring the perpetrator to Denver to face justice, his life, job, and financial status can be restored. I hope to God that last part is just a humorous plot contrivance and not in any way based in reality. But it’s never that easy in Hollywood, and subtlety just isn’t on the menu tonight. Throw in a pregnant wife, a lucrative job promotion in jeopardy, a relentless bounty hunter, a couple of vindictive mob assassins, and a ticking time clock, and now you’ve got something! HD picture exhibits marvelous sharpness and clarity. Diana’s apartment is a production designer’s dream of poor taste and a cacophonous rainbow of vulgarity. Colors are bright and vibrant, from her mismatched furniture to her gaudy wardrobe to her appalling Technicolor eye shadow. Textures and detail are excellently rendered too. It’s so good, in fact, that the supremely observant viewer may notice no less than 10 copies of Unstoppable in her Blu-ray collection.

The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio features some remarkable moments of flair when the chaotic hijinks ensue. Car chases, fistfights, gunshots, and crashes are amply mixed with rousing musical interludes in a well-rounded and lively mix.

Both the theatrical version and an unrated cut, which runs nine minutes longer, are featured. Extras include a making-of documentary, the world’s most pathetic gag reel ever, improvised alternate takes, and two short featurettes covering scene stealing and the skip tracer’s van tour, which Robert Patrick does in character! DVD and Digital Copy included.

Identity Thief strives for madcap hilarity, but it would’ve been much funnier if it weren’t so terrifyingly based in reality. In the digital age, it’s horrifying how much of our personal information is available to anyone who knows how to look for it and exploit it. None of us is safe. Saw and Paranormal Activity I can handle; this movie scared the crap out of me.

Studio: Universal, 2013
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audio Format: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Length: Theatrical: 112 mins., Unrated: 121 mins.
MPAA Rating: R
Director: Seth Gordon
Starring: Jason Bateman, Melissa McCarthy, Robert Patrick