Comedy is king with “Identity Thief” leading the pack in a big way this weekend with the Zombie flick “Warm Bodies” in its second week coming in a distant second.
Fans of “Bridesmaids” came out to the multiplexes to see Melissa McCarthy again. And boy, were they glad that they did. McCarthy is to my mind the greatest practitioner of physical comedy working in the craft today. She is hilarious.
In one of her best bits, she simply lip-syncs to a series of current pop tunes. It is this simple, effective, brilliant comedy that we have missed in this sad era of foul-mouthed comedy.
Not that this is a G rated film. It is rated R for all the usual reasons, language, adult situations and simulated sex between large people.
McCarthy has the advantage of a very funny script by writer Craig Mazin. Mazin also wrote such popular, if grossly improbable, hits as “The Hangover II” and both “Scary Movie 3 and 4”. He knows how to write the laughs and McCarthy knows how to make them work.
Director Seth Gordon also is an experienced contemporary comedy craftsman. Gordon directed the clever, but unexceptional “Horrible Bosses” and the excellent “Four Christmases.”
This might be the best acting that Jason Bateman has done thus far in his very active career. He has the pleasure to play the straight man to Melissa McCarthy. Amanda Peet has a small supporting role as the wife of Bateman’s character. Multi-talented Jon Favreau, who is best known as the successful director of the magnificently popular “Iron Man” and “Iron Man 2,” has a plum, if small role, as the evil corporate head at Bateman’s work place.
Melissa McCarthy is the identity thief in the movie’s title. She tricks Bateman into divulging his personal information over the phone. That info allows her to access his credit lines and effectively bankrupt him. With no reasonable response from the Denver cops, Bateman flies off to sunny Florida to capture the thief and return her to Denver for arrest. The result is a road trip, almost a buddy movie that combines humor with violence.
The thief skips out on a court date, which puts a skip tracer on her trail and her crossing a drug lord adds a couple of mob hitters as well. In between running from her pursuers McCarthy is seduced by a stranger in a bar.
There is a satisfying character arc to the thief that I appreciate. At first the thief is a totally repellent sociopath, wrecking people’s lives without turning a hair. By the end of the film, she is less so.
The production values are excellent, as we would expect in a major studio production with a budget of $35 million. This very funny comedy brought in just about that much over the three-day weekend. I saw it in a theater full of laughing people. Laughter is what we want in a four saw blade comedy and we get plenty.
Next week mayhem returns with Bruce Willis in “A Good Day To Die Hard.”
Bullet to the Head
Guest review by Anthony Tantimonaco
Stallone is in all his glory, “Bullet to the Head” is about a hit man who teams up with a cop to get revenge on the men who set him and his dead partner up.
This movie is just another normal Sylvester Stallone movie, one liners, action, blood and explosions. This includes an amazing to the death fight scene with axes between Stallone and Jason Momoa. Now while Stallone has good acting in this film, it was not his best.
Besides Stallone there were some other familiar faces. Sung Kang plays a Korean cop that teams up with Stallone’s character to help get revenge. You might recognize him from movies such as “Live Free or Die Hard” or any of the “Fast and the Furious” movies. Compared to the acting he has done in his other movies, he didn’t do so well in this one.
The movie also features Jason Momoa; you might just recognize him from the 2011 remake of “Conan the Barbarian” or from the famous Starz show “Game of Thrones.” In “Bullet to the Head,” he plays Keegan, an extremely professional assassin. His acting is superb.
Now besides this being a classic Stallone movie, it is also like a 90-minute advertisement for the Blackberry. Throughout the movie Sung Kang’s character uses his Blackberry phone to receive information, and in one scene, talks to Stallone about how great the phone is. We all know that movies need financing, and they get part of it from product placement, but they didn’t have to make it so obvious.
All together it wasn’t Stallone’s best, but was still a good movie.
If you’re looking to have a couple of laughs and pass the time, I would recommend you see “Bullet to the Head.”