This odd-couple comedy from the director of Horrible Bosses is forgiveable, if only for the two strong leads.
Sandy Patterson (Jason Bateman), an account executive, is a careful and hard working family man. He’s the sole provider for his family, so when he recieves a call from a Fraud Detection agent offering him free protection against identity fraud, he’s pleased to give them the information they need to safeguard his money. Little does he know, of course, that the agent is in fact the thief herself- smart, sassy Diana (Melissa McCarthy) who loves the finer things in life- like perms, ceramics and tequila.
In Florida, Diana uses Sandy’s information to create replica credit cards and identity documents, proceeding to enjoy a night-long bender ending in an arrest. Meanwhile, in Denver, the real Sandy’s problems begin when the his cards are declined and the police accuse him of skipping a court hearing. The penny only drops when Sandy is provided with a mugshot of the accused and realises his problem- his identity has been stolen.
Thus begins a farcical road trip story in which Sandy attempts to find Diana and bring her back to Denver- promising her that if she will speak to his boss and prevent him being fired, he’ll drop the charges. However, Denver is not an interest of Diana’s, until she finds herself followed by a group of upset customers of her fake credit cards and decides that running to the other side of the country is the only option.
The movie would be an enjoyable screwball comedy, were it not for the confusing array of villains (what’s Mike from Breaking Bad doing there?) and the subject of identity fraud definitely more worrisome than a cause for laughs. However, the chemistry between perpetual good-guy-surrounded-by-idiots Bateman and slightly-typecast quirky comedienne McCarthy saves the day, as the power dynamic constantly shifts between them. There are some great small roles here such as Jon Favreau as the boys-club executive and Amanda Peet as the sweet but sidelined wife-at-home. Look out for some impressive stunts from McCarthy, and a particularly uncomfortable sequence with a large snake…
In short, it’s rainy day fun, even if it’s forgotten the moment you leave the cinema.
by Stephanie Broad