Hilarity ensues, but the runtime almost starts to wear out the film’s welcome. The subplot involving Julian and Marisol’s imprisoned boss Paolo (Jonathan Banks) could be completely removed, or at least the scenes he’s in could be considering the story never goes anywhere and has absolutely no wrap-up. As I mentioned, the supporting characters are hilarious, but not the one’s you’d guess. Real life McCarthy hubby Ben Falcone shows up as a hotel clerk, Ellie Kemper pops in as a waitress with a heart of gold, Favreau is hilarious as a frontrunner to the upcoming Horrible Bosses 2, and Eric Stonestreet (loveable Cam on Modern Family) nearly steals the show as Big Chuck, a man who wants to do some really dirty things to Diana while Sandy watches.
Director Gordon keeps things in line better than most could have, and when the film is sticking to the funny (which is most of the runtime) it’s hysterical. It all makes me wonder if there was a hefty load of improv on the set of Identity Thief, and the major tonal issues with Hangover II are solely to blame on co-writers Scot Armstrong and Todd Phillips (who also directed that debacle). The only concern here is that when things get serious, they get downright maudlin. McCarthy has more than one moment where she looks like she’s hoping to thank the Academy someday. And goodness knows what is up with the whole Beetlejuice ending. Thankfully, Gordon knows we came to laugh, and on that level, Identity Thief has a pretty good comedy credit rating.
Photos courtesy Universal Pictures