Identity Thief

Identity Thief’s unsinkable Melissa McCarthy knows no bounds; leaves no stone unturned.

What is it about movie theatres? There’s some sort of crazy default setting that makes even the most sober of people turn to consuming overly-large containers of popcorn and bring-your-own-salt-from-home-shakers so you can add even more salty goodness to the already hyperbolic mixture. And as the apparent cruise director at the end of my row supplied for his gang of 6 some sort of large cardboard containers of unidentified foodstuffs, he was all the while shouting to his friends, “who wants more jalapenos!” All that was even before the lights went out and we got ready to watch what someone near me declared for all to hear, “This is gonna be funeeeeee”. Bad sign.

But not necessarily a bad sign for Identity Thief, the story of a maddeningly naïve, and speaking of sober, Jason Bateman as the guy who Melissa McCarthy easily slips into and takes over his Sandy Bigelow Patterson-ish self, lock, stock and barrel.

Unbelievable, you tell yourself, as the first scene unfolds with Melissa leading the charge in a drunken bar scene. Oh No, you cover your eyes, as Melissa cold cocks one person after another.  Unbelievable, you scream, as cars and trucks dizzyingly collide. EWWWUW, you shudder, as Big Chuck, played brilliantly by Eric Stonestreet of Modern Family fame, throws himself wholeheartedly into a potentially kinky 3-way.

Have they missed anything? There are some crazy scenes with snakes, an incredible moment with a showerhead in a bathtub, a moment of transformation, an over-top-performance (where WAS the director?) from Mary-Charles Jones as the giggly daughter of the REAL Sandy Patterson. (Don’t miss the stand out giggle toward the end!)

So, as we dodged some REALLY? Moments in the uneven script: buffoonish southerners straight out of central casting from the 70’s, and maybe a few I-have-seen-this-before scenes that involve chases, drunkenness, drug deals gone bad, etc etc, it comes down to the sheer force of a generous, fearless and relentless, unsinkable Melissa McCarthy. She’s insane, and yet we follow her. So the whole thing ends up being so entertaining at the end.  Not unlike that Robert DeNiro/Charles Grodin madcap Midnight Run. You’ll watch it and Identity Thief, each time they show up in late night reruns on the Movie Channel. It all kind of reminds of the $3.50 package I chose to settle in with at the movie theatre. Something called “Airheads XTREMES”.

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A skipping stone from Portland, to Michigan, New York City, and back to Portland. It was theatre and dance worlds in Manhattan. And here in Portland, total immersion into the radio broadcasting world, more dance, theatre, art and endless music.

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