Among the new movies that were released Friday, Feb. 8 in theaters throughout the Valley are a road trip comedy starring Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy and a dramatic thriller starring Jude Law and Rooney Mara.
Jason Bateman plays a mild-mannered businessman who learns that his identity has been stolen and hits the road in an attempt to foil the thief - a deceptively harmless-looking woman (Melissa McCarthy). (R - 111 minutes)
"Identity Thief" is ferociously funny but it is also fairly frustrating and the film frequently takes its jokes entirely too far. That is to say that director Seth Gordon's new road trip comedy treats its two stars - Jason Bateman and the magnificent Melissa McCarthy - like cartoon characters, subjecting them to extreme physical duress in order to get a laugh yet, in doing so, overshooting said target. Fortunately, though, there are enough down-to-earth hits to outweigh the many manic misses and make the movie worth watching. Extra points are earned for quirky cameos from "Modern Family's" Eric Stonestreet and McCarthy's "Bridesmaids" co-star Ellie Kemper - both of whom deserve their own starring roles. (Grade: C)
Rooney Mara plays a woman whose world unravels when a new drug prescribed by her psychiatrist (Jude Law) - intended to treat anxiety - has unexpected side effects. Channing Tatum and Catherine Zeta-Jones also star. (R - 120 minutes)
“Side Effects” is a remarkably riveting dramatic thriller. It is also quite clever - so clever, in fact, that you may require some sort of prescription medication for the headache that you are guaranteed to develop as a result of trying to keep up with its incredibly complex plot. Needless to say, director Steven Soderbergh’s latest cinematic effort is about so much more than what at first meets the eye. Bolstered by brilliant performances from its acting quartet and a story that is certain to unceasingly surprise viewers from beginning to end, this tough pill to swallow is worth the extra effort. (Grade: B)