Opening this weekend are two movies that pretty much have zero similarities other than the fact they are movies. We have the comedy Identity Thief and the thriller Side Effects. We’ll go with the comedy first, about Identity Thief:
Mild-mannered businessman Sandy Patterson (Jason Bateman) travels from Denver to Miami to confront the deceptively harmless-looking woman (Melissa McCarthy) who has been living it up after stealing Sandy's identity. From the director Horrible Bosses and a producer of Ted also starring Jon Favreau, Amanda Peet, Genesis Rodriguez, Morris Chestnut, John Cho, Robert Patrick and Eric Stonestreet.
I was looking forward to Identity Thief. I liked Horrible Bosses, like Bateman and McCarthy for the most part, but something about it felt incomplete. Not that the story was incomplete, it just felt like it was missing something. I liked both leads in the film, but something about it felt unnecessary and that is more the supporting characters/supporting storyline. T.I. and Genesis Rodriguez play gangsters out to get McCarthy. Robert Patrick plays a bounty hunter out to get McCarthy all while Bateman is trying to bring her cross country. All of that didn’t feel necessary. To me it should have been just the gangsters or just the bounty hunters and not both. You’d be watching the film then one of them would pop up and you’d be like “oh yeah, forgot about them” and that’s never a good thing.
That’s my biggest complaint about the film, there’s way too many people in it that most are underused or unnecessary. I’m a big Jon Favreau fan, but he was completely unnecessary in this. There was no real need for someone of his caliber to be in that role. Same for Amanda Peet and John Cho. Neither one of their characters required a decent named actor in it. About the only cameo that works is Eric Stonestreet. His scene with Melissa McCarthy is probably the funniest in the film and from what I heard, mostly improvised.
But ultimately you’ll see this movie because you like Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy. Although I didn’t think it was as funny as it could have been, Bateman and McCarthy have some laughs. It’s not as funny as other buddy road trip movies like Tommy Boy or Planes, Trains and Automobiles, but it’s also pretty much the only comedy in theaters right now.
As for Side Effects, about the film:
Side Effects is a provocative thriller about Emily and Martin (Rooney Mara and Channing Tatum), a successful New York couple whose world unravels when a new drug prescribed by Emily's psychiatrist (Jude Law) – intended to treat anxiety – has unexpected side effects. The film is said to be director Steven Soderbergh’s last film, but we’ll see about that. It also stars Catherine Zeta-Jones.
I did two reviews in one because Identity Thief is a comedy and there doesn’t need to be much said about it. Side Effects on the other hand is really difficult to talk about without spoiling the film. There are a bunch of twists and turns in the story and the more that is said, the more spoiler-ish it can become. Now I didn’t think the film was as smart as it set out to be, but it wasn’t bad.
The main reason it wasn’t bad was because of Jude Law and Rooney Mara. Both leads held your attention throughout the film and although if you paid attention you could see where the film was heading, Mara and Law were captivating enough. You really can’t talk much about their interactions or even Tatum or Zeta-Jones without giving away a twist, but it’s a talented group and they do well with it.
The film looks great under Soderbergh. I have a hard time believing this will be his last film, but regardless, his use of the Red camera makes a sharp and beautiful film. His normal filters are used although there isn’t as much red filter as other films. There’s lot of yellow and some scenes look spot on flawless. If you are a fan of his, definitely check it out. You probably planned on it anyways.
The blizzard in New England will cause some disappointing numbers out here. Our governor have already threatened us with fines and jail time for going outside so who knows what’s going to happen with box office sales here. If you like Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy you should see Identity Thief. It’s not as laugh out loud throughout as I was hoping, but it has some laughs and is decent enough for a non-Summer blockbuster. If you like Soderbergh, Law, Mara or the like, definitely see Side Effects. Make sure you get there early so you don’t miss the beginning or any of the twists in storyline.