Identity Thief

I went to a harassment training program before going to work. It seemed to reveal as much about the people in the room as the subject matter. When I returned home, I watched “Identity Thief.” Melissa McCarthy was the identity thief, and Jason Bateman was the victim. This is a comedy that depends on being loud. The movie that came to mind as I was watching this one was “Hot Pursuit.” I also thought of “Midnight Run.” Everybody in the movie business is writing the same few movies with slight variations. We couldn’t really feel sympathy for the identity thief despite the manipulations of the script and McCarthy’s sad eyes. I don’t know when the mixture of comedy and violence started. It was an uneasy combination in the time of “Freebie and the Bean,” as I recall. One thing that was a problem was that the victim was a regular person who didn’t deserve it. In “The Sting,” Robert Shaw was a jerk. Bateman went to great lengths to save his job, but if John Cho was my boss, I’d seriously consider working elsewhere. Melissa McCarthy seems to be the same character whatever the movie that she’s in. I couldn’t distinguish what she did here from what she did in “The Heat” or “Spy.” There were three people pursuing McCarthy and Bateman as they traveled from Florida to Denver, and I thought one of them looked like Martin Sheen. In one of the action scenes, a van tumbled over several times, but the two people inside weren’t hurt. That seems to happen a lot in the movies. It’s cartoon action. As you’re watching, you know that Melissa can’t get away from her crimes. Her last scene is not too convincing. The five people taking the cross-country trip leave behind car wrecks and a trail of terrified people. The police were inept if they couldn’t connect Bateman to this mess. I kept thinking about “Trainwreck” in comparison to this movie. In both movies, we see a woman who is maladjusted and screams about it. People who are Melissa McCarthy fans would enjoy this movie. Seeing her in “Bridesmaids” was enough for me. Is every single movie being filmed in Atlanta these days? The director, Seth Gordon, is known for “The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters” and “Horrible Bosses.” He is supposed to work on a Baywatch movie. Craig Mazin was a writer for “Identity Thief,” and his credits include “Scary Movie 3,” “Scary Movie 4,” “The Hangover Part II,” and “The Hangover Part III.” He and John August do the Scriptnotes podcast that I listen to frequently. Mazin was born in 1971, so he was past 40 when he worked on “Identity Thief.” I don’t know if a psychology degree helps you write effective screenplays. After falling asleep for a while, I awoke to watch the second half of “Yours, Mine and Ours.” I kept wondering how they managed to cast all those children. One of them was Tim Matheson from “Animal House,” although he was credited as Tim Matthieson. One of the kids kept missing out on the food, and I thought he might starve to death. It seemed that Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda were too old to play their roles, since they were 57 and 63, respectively in 1968. In real life, Helen Beardsley died in April 2000 at age 70. Frank Beardsley died in December 2012 at age 97. I liked this movie a lot when I saw it many years ago. Some of the people who died on August 13 include H.G. Wells (1946), Jane Darwell (1967), Mickey Mantle (1995), Julia Child (2004), Les Paul (2009), and Edwin Newman (2010). Today is a birthday for Danny Bonaduce (56) and Kevin Tighe (71).

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