Following her breakout appearance in “Bridesmaids,” Melissa McCarthy has quickly become a well-known comedy actress who will soon be teaming up with Justin Bateman in “Identity Thief.” McCarthy takes on the role of a shopaholic con artist who snatches Jason Bateman’s identity in an effort to support her somewhat lavish lifestyle. What ensues is a hilarious game of cat and mouse as Bateman finds himself chasing after the imposter who has stolen his identity in a desperate bid to get back not only his money but also his good name.
The fun gets started between this winsome duo when Sandy Bigelow Patterson (Bateman) swipes his credit card while trying to fill up at a gas station only to find that his card is rejected. After contacting the police station, he is informed by a detective that he has failed to appear for a court date in Florida. It’s at this point that Sandy becomes really suspicious since he has never even stepped foot in Florida. The detective then proceeds to let Sandy know that his identity has been stolen by a mysterious woman. The real Sandy, a strait-laced accounts representative, decides he can simply track down the imposter and deal with the situation on his own. Actually, meeting up with the alternate Sandy proves more difficult than he imagined.
While fans are likely quite familiar with Bateman’s tendency toward a somewhat soft-spoken and sweet persona, it is those very characteristics that provide a perfect foil to McCarthy’s slapstick humor and wit. Although Bateman readily takes on the role of a no-nonsense and yet charming businessman, McCarthy takes to the role of an identity thief with aplomb and plenty of irreverent humor as she is seen enjoying a no-holds-barred spending spree using the credit card she filched from Sandy Bigelow Patterson.
It is those unlimited funds that have allowed McCarthy’s character to live it up in Miami as she proceeds to buy whatever she happens to fancy. Her lavish lifestyle is promptly interrupted when the real Sandy decides he must take matters in his own hands. As he proceeds to try to coach, bribe and all-out wrangle Diana (McCarthy) back to Denver in order to straighten out the mess she has created of his life, Sandy will discover that while it is far too easy to become a target of identity theft, it is much more difficult to actually get your name back.
With this combination, “Identity Thief” promises to provide audiences with plenty of laughs and even a fair amount of action. In the trailer, McCarthy can be seen slamming on her brakes while Bateman is following her and later punching Bateman several times in the throat. The hilarious chemistry this duo manages to bring to the screen should have audiences rolling.
While anyone who has had their identity stolen can attest that the situation is far from amusing, Bateman and McCarthy manage to give the scenario a hysterical twist. The duo may be somewhat of an unexpected matchup for a comedy, but it is actually Bateman’s ability to perfectly portray a mild-mannered target and McCarthy’s talent for tackling a comedic role with more than a hint of sauciness that makes this duo the ideal match for one another.
For his part, there is little doubt that Jason Bateman has ample experience filling the role of the funny guy. After appearing in “Arrested Development,” he quickly regained the spotlight and has headlined a number of comedies since then. He has also ventured into producing his own films, which led to his working with McCarthy in their upcoming film.
Interestingly, the concept for the film actually called for a man having his identity stolen by another man. After Melissa McCarthy received such praise recently for her work, including an Emmy nomination for her television series “Mike & Molly” and a role that was written specifically for her comedic talents in “Bridesmaids,” Jason Bateman was impressed enough to flip the entire script for “Identity Thief” and feature McCarthy as the con artist.
Bateman not only stars in the film, but also produced “Identity Thief, ” providing him with sufficient clout to actually request that the script be tweaked to include a male and female lead rather than two male leads. The script was written by Steven Conrad, most well known for such dramas as “The Weather Man.”
“Identity Thief” will be McCarthy’s first leading role in a film following her appearance as part of an ensemble cast in “Bridesmaids.” The movie hits theaters on February 8, 2013.