‘Identity Thief’ succeeds in stealing little more than time

“Identity Thief” comes from one of the writers of “Scary Movie 3” and “Scary Movie 4.” Let that sink in.

If you liked either of those movies: 1. Chances are good that you’ll find “Identity Thief” to be very funny. 2. Shame on you.

“Identity Thief” is not fun to watch. Not even a little. The jokes are unfunny and, in a time where cliche seems to rule the box office, almost smug in their ability to come off as both hackneyed and offensive to the viewer’s intelligence.

Jason Bateman plays Sandy Bigelow Patterson. Sandy is a numbers man at some big company, and he’s unappreciated by some big boss, and he leaves that company to make some big bucks at some big startup. Things seem to finally be going Sandy’s way and then he finds out that his identity has been stolen by Diana, played by Melissa McCarthy.

You can pretty much guess what happens next for about oh, I don’t know, an hour and 53 minutes. Boring does not even begin to describe a movie that is unconcerned with setting up any sort of surprise for its viewers other than a glorified cameo by rapper T.I.

Not only is this movie boring but it barely makes any sort of logical sense. One example of its many logical inconsistencies is the fact that a “skiptracer,” charged with bringing Diana in after she skips bail, is a violent criminal, in his own right, willing to do anything if it will get him closer to catching the “bad guy.”

Now, I’m no expert on the subject, but I am reasonably sure that most bail bondsmen don’t make a habit of hiring criminal sociopaths to track down other criminal sociopaths. This is but a minor problem in a screenplay running ripe with them.

For their part, Bateman and  McCarthy do their best to rise to the occasion and deliver something interesting. Bateman, always at his best playing a put upon every man, gives an interesting performance as a man willing to stoop to the level of the person ruining his life.

McCarthy is responsible for the one laugh this movie has to offer. That, in and of itself, should be enough to clench her a nomination at next year’s Oscars, because that is miraculous in this complete waste of time Craig Mazin, the film’s writer, decided to browbeat us with.

One audience member said “the movie put my girlfriend to sleep.” If only we could all be so lucky.