William Shakespeare once said in his play Romeo + Juliet, “What’s in a name”. The person behind the name may have spent his life developing his character and personality, but do they think about the power their name has had. When you think of the name William Shakespeare, would you picture a dumb person? The wording of his name flows much like a poem itself to rather picture a writer. Why do you think movie stars often have cool sounding names? The prize of having Tom Cruise or Jennifer Lopez as names are rewarded with having more attention and fandom. I’m not saying that the names made them famous, but could you see Thomas Mapother (the real name of Tom Cruise) as marketable?
Now what would you do if your name was taken by someone else. I don’t mean meeting someone with the same name, I mean actually having your information taken in theft. These gutless burglars have not only stolen a chance to use your money, but they are using a part of your soul. I would feel raped if someone would go as far to use my name. This is why I take precaution and avoid every email that’s claimed to be from a Nigerian prince who needs my to lend money through my bank account. This serious notion is turned into a comedy as Identity Theft.
Immediately in the first scene, the movie cleverly shows how the name thievery happens. Financial Bureaucrat Sandy Patterson (played by Jason Bateman) informed by a company that someone has tried to hack into his bank and they need his information in order to beef up security. Playing to his good intentions, he gives his social security information and bankcard numbers to the woman on the phone. She is the thief in disguise.
One morning, Sandy finds that he can’t purchase gas, he’s overextended his credit limit by buying a jet ski (even though he lives in Denver Colorado), even gets arrested for running out on a court appearance in Florida. Eventually, the Denver police get information that another Sandy Patterson (played by Melissa McCarthy) was arrested on assault charges. For some reason the police can’t get her, so Sandy takes the first plane to Florida to bring her back. After a car chase and a fight, this woman turns out to be a con artist named Diana. Upon a gun attack from local mobsters, she and Sandy hightail it outta of there to make the two thousand mile journey by car.
So what may surprise a lot of viewers is that this is a buddy road trip movie. Now I’ve seen this before with Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, Guilt Trip and such. Even the idea of transporting a convict in a comedy has been done as Midnight Run. Now doing another road trip movie is fine if done differently. Is this the case of Identity Theft? A little. I can tell that this movie wants to be up there with those other famous road trip movies.
Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy make a good comic team. He plays the straight man of the group as he usually does, but he’s still likable. McCarthy has a good character prepared for her. She’s wild, she’s smart, yet still has self esteem issues. But there just not given enough comic material to work with. I actually found myself board with many scenes that are trying to establish connections. When you place crazy car crashes where no bones are broken like a cartoon with dramatic scenes about finding yourself, it becomes cluttered. When the movie wants be a cartoon, it works. But when you try to put a realistic realm within it, it sort of makes it implausible.
I’ll give this two and a half fake ID’s out of five. I’ll admit they had a smart team behind Identity Theft. I just wish they weren’t restricted to this realistic cartoon like comedy/drama. But I will say the ending did make me happy.