Identity Thief

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Identity Thief
Theatrical release poster
Directed bySeth Gordon
Screenplay byCraig Mazin
Story by
  • Jerry Eeten
  • Craig Mazin
Produced by
CinematographyJavier Aguirresarobe
Edited byPeter Teschner
Music byChristopher Lennertz
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • February 8, 2013 (2013-02-08)
Running time
111 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$35 million[2]
Box office$175.4 million[2]

Identity Thief is a 2013 American road comedy film directed by Seth Gordon, written by Craig Mazin from a story by Mazin and Jerry Eeten, and starring Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy. The film tells the fictional story of Sandy Patterson, a man whose identity is stolen by a female con artist. After the police told him that it will take up to a year to solve the case, Sandy embarks on a cross-country road trip to find her and clear his name.

The film received negative reception from critics, but was a commercial success, grossing over $175 million worldwide against a budget of $35 million.


In Denver, Sandy Patterson is tricked into buying phony identity theft protection from Diana, a Florida con artist, over the phone and he reveals all of his personal information. At work, after Sandy clashes with his obnoxious boss, Harold Cornish, he receives a phone call that reminds him he has an appointment at a salon in Florida. Confused, he puts it out of his mind when co-worker Daniel Casey suggests they and several others leave Cornish and start their own firm; Sandy agrees to join them.

When paying for gas, Sandy's credit card is declined, and the clerk cuts it up. As the credit card company tells him that he has spent thousands of dollars in Florida, he is arrested for missing a court date there. At the Denver police station, Detective Reilly determines Diana has stolen Sandy's identity. The situation worsens when cops ask Daniel, now his boss, about Sandy's alleged possession of drugs. Reilly says Sandy's name was used to buy drugs from someone named Paolo. When the cops say they can do nothing unless the identity thief is in Denver, Sandy offers to retrieve her and convince her to clear his name despite his wife's concerns.

Sandy finds Diana at the salon in Winter Park, Florida, but when he confronts her, she steals his rental car. Finding her address in her abandoned car, he investigates her house, which is full of merchandise and stolen credit cards. The pair scuffle; before Sandy can handcuff her, criminals Marisol and Julian burst in, angry that Diana gave Paolo bad credit cards. After Sandy and Diana escape, Sandy tells her about his plan to restore his reputation, and she agrees to help. Meanwhile, a skiptracer is dispatched to track down Diana for a substantial bounty. Because their IDs are identical, flight is impossible, and they travel by car.

After traveling through several states, the skiptracer catches up to the pair and captures Diana. A chase ensues; she knocks him unconscious, and Sandy rams his van off the road. They take the skiptracer's van and tie him up in back. When it overheats, they continue on foot through a forest. Sandy discards his pants when he finds a snake in them, and Diana accidentally knocks him unconscious when another bites his neck. Sandy wakes at a bus station, and Diana says she carried him until she flagged down a truck. As the next bus to Denver leaves in three days, Sandy uses money hidden in his socks to buy a $200 car. For gas money, the pair con an accounts processor and steal Cornish's identity to create new credit cards. Meanwhile, Marisol shoots the skiptracer, and the criminals continue their pursuit of Sandy and Diana.

In St. Louis, the two share dinner, and Diana admits she does not know her real name. The accounts processor enters with cops, who arrest Sandy and Diana. Diana uncuffs herself in the back of the police car, breaks the back windshield, and escapes with Sandy. The skiptracer shoots Marisol and Julian, finds Diana and Sandy on the highway mid-escape, and hits Diana with his car. Sandy comes to her aid, but Diana revives and defensively strikes Sandy in the throat. Diana and Sandy eventually get home, where Diana has dinner with Sandy's family and reconciles with them. Sandy and Trish have a private conversation that night, agreeing not to turn in Diana even if it means that Sandy will lose his job.

The next morning, Sandy finds Diana gone and a note that apologizes for the trouble she caused. Sandy prepares to quit his job, but Daniel shows him that Diana is meeting with the police in an office. Detective Reilly tells Sandy he is no longer part of the investigation, and Diana is taken away in cuffs. Before she leaves, Sandy asks her why; Diana says she knew he would not turn her in, but it was the right thing to do.

One year later, Sandy celebrates another birthday, this time with his third child. The family visits Diana in prison, and Sandy presents her with a birth certificate that reveals her name as Dawn Budgie. Diana hugs Sandy. When a guard antagonizes her, Diana punches the guard, and another guard stuns her with a Taser. As she recovers and walks back to her cell, Sandy watches with a shocked expression.


Jason Bateman
Melissa McCarthy
Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy starred as Sandy and Diana respectively



The film was first conceived as a project with two male leads, but that changed when Bateman saw McCarthy in Bridesmaids and pushed for her to star alongside him.[3] Jerry Eeten wrote an early draft, later finished by Craig Mazin with a final rewrite by Seth Gordon. In January 2012, Gordon was announced as the director of the film with Scott Stuber producing through his Stuber Pictures banner with Bateman and Peter Morgan for DumbDumb.[4] In April 2012, John Cho, Clark Duke and Amanda Peet joined the cast.[5] In May 2012, Jon Favreau[6] and Morris Chestnut[7] also joined the cast.


Some filming took place in Atlanta at the 191 Peachtree Tower, around May 2012. Scenes were also filmed on Peachtree Street in Midtown Atlanta, at The Colonnade restaurant on Cheshire Bridge Road in Morningside, and at Perimeter Mall.[8] Scenes from the film were also shot at Salon 2000 in Ansley Mall.


In March 2012, a release date of May 10, 2013 was announced.[9] In June 2012, the release date changed to February 8, 2013.


The first official full-length trailer of the film was released on September 26, 2012.[10]

Box office[edit]

Identity Thief has grossed $134.5 million in the United States and Canada, and $40.9 million in other countries, for a worldwide total of $175.4 million against a budget of $35 million.[2]

Identity Thief opened at #1 at the box office with $34.6 million in its first weekend, which was considered remarkable by analysts since a major winter storm, often a concern with winter dump months releases, forced theater closings and kept moviegoers at home in the densely populated Northeast.[11] The film held the #2 spot in its second weekend, grossing $23.7 million and only dropping 31.5%. It reclaimed the #1 spot in its third week opening.


Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 19% based on 178 reviews with an average rating of 4.2/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Identity Thief's few laughs are attributable to Melissa McCarthy and Jason Bateman, who labor mightily to create a framework for the movie's undisciplined plotline".[12] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 35 out of 100 based on 41 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[13] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale.[14]

R. Kurt Osenlund of Slant Magazine gave the film a positive review, rating it 3 out of 4 stars, praising McCarthy's performance, writing that she "gives a performance leagues better than anything to be expected in a mainstream, early-in-the-year release, padding a typically sketched character with layers of hilarity and pathos. McCarthy owns 'Identity Thief' with a turn of limitless surprise, making an otherwise adequate comedy soar as a star vehicle. She is riveting in simply-penned moments of remorse and confession, adding tearful depth to her ace timing and formidable physical comedy."[15] Peter Debruge of Variety magazine praises McCarthy but criticizes the script, saying "Melissa McCarthy proves she’s got what it takes to carry a feature, however meager the underlying material."[16] Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 2/4 and wrote: "It wants to be "Midnight Run" meets "Planes, Trains and Automobiles," but it carries little of the dramatic heft and real-world semi-plausibility of those much superior efforts." He concludes "Here's hoping someone finds a much better vehicle for these terrifically talented actors."[17]

Bob Mondello for NPR described the film as "Two Hours Stolen", calling it "a catalog of missed opportunities", and "uninspired trudge of a road movie". Mondello particularly criticizes the script for wasting the talented lead performers, setting up Bateman as stupid and dull, while subverting McCarthy's improvisational skills and undercutting her comic timing with interruptions.[18] James Berardinelli of gave the film 1/4 and wrote: "This feels a lot like some of the recent, unwatchable Adam Sandler offerings: boorish, unfunny comedy colliding with saccharine, quasi-dramatic filler." He thought the trailer was a fair representation of the film and that viewers that liked it might get more than the few chuckles he got out of the film. Berardinelli says the film is not simply bad but manages to "cross the line into reprehensible."[19] Dana Stevens at considers the implications of the “brazenly grotesque" character that McCarthy plays and how it is an uneasy balance between feminist trailblazing and preservation of stereotypes. Stevens would be more willing to forgive the film for "its overfamiliar comic setups and shameless gag-recycling if the movie’s second half didn’t make such an abrupt about-face from soliciting our revulsion to begging for our pity."[20]

In his negative review, Rex Reed made several references to Melissa McCarthy's weight, referring to her as "tractor-sized," "humongous," "obese," and a "hippo,"[21][22] Reed's comments immediately attracted wide criticism from various film critics and the film industry at large. Film critic Richard Roeper said, "This just smacks of mean-spirited name-calling in lieu of genuine criticism."[23] On Twitter, Paul Feig, who directed McCarthy in Bridesmaids and The Heat, wrote, "I cordially invite Mr. Rex Reed to go fuck himself."[23] The review was referenced at the 85th Academy Awards on February 24, 2013 by the host, Seth MacFarlane, who joked that Reed would review Adele for singing "Skyfall" at the ceremony.[24] In a column for The Huffington Post, Candy Spelling likened Reed's review to bullying.[25] Reed stood by his comments and stated his objection to the use of serious health issues such as obesity as comedy talking points. He dismissed the outrage as being orchestrated for publicity, but praised McCarthy for not getting involved in the matter, calling her "completely classy."[26][27] McCarthy later responded, expressing surprise the review was published, and said "I felt really bad for someone who is swimming in so much hate. I just thought, that’s someone who’s in a really bad spot, and I am in such a happy spot. I laugh my head off every day with my husband and my kids".[28]


Year Award Category Nominee Result
2013 Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie: Comedy Nominated
Choice Movie Actor: Comedy Jason Bateman Nominated
Choice Movie Actress: Comedy Melissa McCarthy Nominated
Choice Movie: Villain Nominated
2014 People's Choice Awards Favorite Comedic Movie Actress Nominated
MTV Movie Awards Best Musical Performance Nominated
Best Fight Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy Nominated


  1. ^ "IDENTITY THIEF (15)". British Board of Film Classification. 2013-02-05. Retrieved 2013-02-05.
  2. ^ a b c "Identity Thief (2013) - Financial Information". The Numbers.
  3. ^ "Bateman McCarthy Team for ID Theft". 2011-08-15.
  4. ^ "Seth Gordon set to helm Identity Thief". Variety. 2012-01-17.
  5. ^ Kit, Borys (2012-04-17). "John Cho, Clark Duke in for Identity Thief". The Hollywood Reporter.
  6. ^ "Jon Favreau catches Identity Thief". Variety. 2012-05-02.
  7. ^ "Morris Chestnut joins Identity Thief". 2012-05-24.
  8. ^ "Jason Bateman filming in Atlanta". 2012-05-01. Archived from the original on 2012-08-15. Retrieved 2012-08-30.
  9. ^ "Identity Thief gets a release date". 2012-03-02.
  10. ^ Adam B. Vary (September 26, 2012). "'Identity Thief' trailer: Melissa McCarthy steals Jason Bateman's life". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 31, 2019.
  11. ^ "UPDATED: Winter Storm Nemo Fails To Stop 'Identity Thief' From Shattering Expectations". Boxoffice. February 9, 2013. Archived from the original on December 24, 2013. Retrieved January 8, 2014.
  12. ^ Identity Thief at Rotten Tomatoes Retrieved June 4, 2013
  13. ^ Identity Thief at Metacritic Edit this at Wikidata Retrieved May 29, 2014
  14. ^ "Cinemascore". Archived from the original on 2018-12-20. Retrieved 2019-08-30.
  15. ^ Osenlund, R. Kurt (February 6, 2013). "Identity Thief - Film Review - Slant Magazine". Slant Magazine. Retrieved April 7, 2014.
  16. ^ Debruge, Peter (February 6, 2013). "Identity Thief". Variety.
  17. ^ Roeper, Richard (February 6, 2013). "Identity Thief Movie Review & Film Summary (2013)". Chicago Sun-Times.
  18. ^ Bob (Feb 8, 2013). "'Identity Thief': Nearly Two Hours, Stolen".
  19. ^ Berardinelli, James (February 8, 2013). "Identity Thief". Reelviews Movie Reviews.
  20. ^ Stevens, Dana (February 8, 2013). "Melissa McCarthy and the problem of the grotesque". Slate Magazine.
  21. ^ Reed, Rex. "Declined: In Identity Thief, Bateman's Bankable Billing Can't Lift This Flick out of the Red". New York Observer. Retrieved 15 February 2013.
  22. ^ "Critic calls Melissa McCarthy 'tractor-sized,' 'hippo' in review of new film", Today, February 7, 2013
  23. ^ a b "Melissa McCarthy Identity Thief Review Is "Mean-Spirited," Says Film Critic Richard Roeper". Us Weekly. February 8, 2013. Retrieved February 8, 2013.
  24. ^ Grant, Drew (February 25, 2013). "Rex Reed Got a Shout-Out in Last Night's Oscar Telecast". New York Observer. Retrieved March 4, 2013.
  25. ^ Spelling, Candy (February 19, 2013). "15 Minutes of Fame". The Huffington Post.
  26. ^ Seth Abramovitch (2013-02-13). "Rex Reed Defends Melissa McCarthy Remarks: 'Don't Make Me the Villain'". The Hollywood Reporter.
  27. ^ Joyce Chen (June 21, 2013). "Rex Reed Refuses to Apologize for Melissa McCarthy Comments: "I Stand By All of My Original Remarks"". US. Archived from the original on 2013-06-21. I do not have, nor have I ever had, anything personal against people who suffer from obesity
  28. ^ Dave Itzkoff (June 13, 2013). "Melissa McCarthy Goes Over the Top". New York Times. Archived from the original on 2013-06-16.

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