Identity Thief

Though charming in other parts, Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy make for a disappointing odd couple in the comedy “Identity Thief.”

Bateman plays a natural born sucker, Sandy Patterson, whose life’s completely upended when he answers a random call from conwoman Diana (McCarthy, considerably less charming than in “Bridesmaids”). Despite his long career in financial services, Sandy naively relays all his personal information to her with zero hesitation.

Diana becomes the new Sandy and manically charges off with a deck of fake credit cards in his “unisex” name. She buys tons of drinks for strangers and plenty of toys and cosmetics for herself, but there are signs from the start that she’s tormented inside.

The screenplay, by Craig Mazin (“The Hangover Part II”), ties itself into a pretzel trying to make sense of Sandy’s rash decision to take the law into his own hands. With his naiveté now looking like a psychological condition, he sets out to bring Diana from Florida to Colorado to face the music and clear his name. “You’re not Batman,” his wife cautions as he departs with her blessing.

Sandy does all the driving (they can’t fly together since now they share the same name?), while Diana sings along to every song that comes on the car radio. Apparently, this rental car has no CD player.

“Do you know what a sociopath is?” Sandy asks his traveling companion with ample snark.

“Do they like ribs?” she shoots back.

This duo’s hardly of the eventually endearing sort—both of them outstay their welcome well before they cross the Florida state line.

Diana’s just a deeply troubled woman, and the film’s continual failed attempts to find humor in her sad state is discomfiting—not to mention the extreme physical abuse that director Seth Gordon (of “Horrible Bosses”) puts her through. Is it really funny when Sandy smashes a guitar over Diana’s head? Or when Diana’s hit by a speeding car, her body flipping through the air?

The story never has much gas to begin with, but it definitely runs out of its supply early on. By the time the two reach St. Louis, many viewers will be desperately trying to figure out how many more miles it is from there to Denver.

“Identity Thief” also suffers greatly in comparison to the film it seems to be stealing many of its ideas from—the beloved odd-couple/road movie “Midnight Run” (1988), in which Robert DeNiro was trying to bring in Charles Grodin.