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Susan Granger's review of 'Identity Thief'

Published 10:52 am, Sunday, February 17, 2013
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After stealing the show in "Bridesmaids," comedienne Melissa McCarthy scores her first starring role, playing Diana, a conniving Winter Park, Fla., criminal who specializes in credit card scams. This time, her victim is Sandy Bigelow Patterson (Jason Bateman), a mild-mannered accountant for a Denver mega-corporation who naively reveals far too much personal information when Diana calls, pretending to be a telemarketer. Soon, she's maxed out his credit cards and tainted his good name.

Fired by his boss (Jon Favreau) and frustrated beyond measure, Sandy takes off to find the scamming imposter, determined to redeem not only his credit standing but his reputation. But obnoxious Diana outwits him at every turn, beating him up, stealing his wallet, wrecking his rental car and leaving him stranded on the highway. But she's being pursued by a pair of hit men (Genesis Rodriguez, rapper

Tip "T.I." Harris), so Diana

and Sandy wind up bonding

as a squabbling odd couple on a crazy road trip to Colorado, trying to evade an aggressive redneck skip-tracer, a.k.a.

bounty-hunter (Robert Patrick), the contract killers and the cops.

Sloppily scripted by Craig Mazin ("Hangover, Parts II and III," along with "Scary Movie 3 & 4") and chaotically directed as a silly revenge fantasy by Seth Gordon ("Horrible Bosses," "Four Christmases"), it's shamelessly derivative of "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" and "Midnight Run." Mazin shares story credit with Jerry Eeten, a business/technology teacher at Osceola Fundamental High School in St. Petersburg, Fla., who came up with the midlife crisis idea. And the redundant gag about the name "Sandy" being unisex is used far too often, as if -- with repetition -- it will suddenly become funny.

Not only is it not funny

and there's so much talent trashed on the wayside, including Amanda Peet as Sandy's supportive, pregnant wife

and Eric Stonestreet (TV's "Modern Family") as Big Chuck, a Georgia gent who adores Diane.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Identity Thief" is a vulgar, tawdry 3, turning a cyber-crime into cinematic chaos.