Identity Thief

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Identity Thief Movie Poster Image
Great stars can't rescue uneven, sometimes violent comedy.
  • R
  • 2013
  • 100 minutes

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 13 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 43 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Forgiveness, empathy, and trust go a long way toward smoothing rough edges and bridging huge differences. And it's important to be confident and stand up for yourself. Also: Love and family mean more than stuff. That said, sometimes characters resort to violence to get out of a problematic situation.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Sandy is kind and caring, even to people who've done him wrong. He's able to empathize with his tormentor -- but he still wants the wrongs righted. Diana is lonely and troubled, though she does come to understand that her actions have repercussions. On the other hand, there are some mean-spirited jokes at others' expense.

Violence

Cars crash into each other; characters shoot point blank at each other; a woman punches men in the throat time and again. Also wrestling, hair pulling, etc. And characters create as much mayhem as possible to get out of any pickle they're in. Most of this is done with a light underlying tone, however, as the movie is a comedy.

Sex

A woman flirts with a man at a bar, gets drunk with him, and then sleeps with him. Viewers don't see them in naked, but we do see their faces during the lengthy and over-the-top sequence. Lots of double entendres and some lewd/aggressive come-ons.

Language

Frequent use of a wide variety of swearing, including "f--k," "s--t," "d--k," "c--k," "bitch," "goddammit," "a--hole," "screw," "ass," "hell," "crap," "damn," "oh my God," and more.

Consumerism

Lots of name-dropping and label-flashing, including Adidas, Quicken, Fiat, Mini Cooper, Century 21, L’Occitane, Dodge, Lifelock, Hemlock, and more. One character drowns her sorrows with endless shopping.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

People get drunk on tequila shots at bars. Characters act out/are belligerent when they're drunk. A hook-up takes place between two drunk characters. Also wine-drinking at restaurants and other functions, mention of Xanax use, and the like.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Identity Thief is full of (comic) mayhem, with cars crunching into each other (sometimes on purpose) and characters shooting at each other, stealing from each other, and generally creating as much chaos as possible. The premise centers around a thief (Melissa McCarthy) who steals someone else's identity; he (Jason Bateman) then proceeds to try to get her to clear his name. In the process, they get embroiled in tons of hijinks, some of which are sexual in nature (though not with each other); there's simulated sex, but no nudity. Expect lots of innuendoes and plenty of swearing (including "f--k" and "s--t"), plus some racist jokes, drinking (wine, hard liquor), and product placement.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byDdoyle April 21, 2020

Good but ROB

Very good but just content and language
Adult Written byKathy Cronk August 11, 2019

Great movie for pre-teens and teens

I think this movie is great! It is funny and a good positive message that you have to be kind to others if they are not always kind to you. I recommend this mov... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byOddball20 December 18, 2019

Comedy but not appropriate for kids...

This movie was okay... I don't know if I would watch it again.
Starting off the movie was a woman who got drunk at a bar and got arrested for assault and p... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byElizaa.x July 24, 2018

What's the story?

Even-tempered, kind, hardworking Denver resident Sandy Bigelow Patterson (Jason Bateman) finds himself in the unlikely position of having to confront Diana (Melissa McCarthy), a troubled, devious, middle-aged woman living large in Florida thanks to credit cards she took out in Sandy's name. The fraud is putting Sandy's new job on the line, and all he wants is for Diana to come to Denver and say she's behind all the financial ills that have befallen him. But, first, he must convince her to return with him, all while fending off amorous suitors, vengeful hit men, and a bounty hunter who's plenty angry.

Is it any good?

IDENTITY THIEF makes off with a few of your hours that you might find yourself missing. Not because of Bateman and McCarthy, mind you; they have an authenticity and likeability that save this comedy from true ruin. Their chemistry makes their unlikely team-up -- and subsequent journey -- believable and even understandable.

The problem lies in the script. Identity Thief can't seem to decide what it wants to be: Is it a road-trip comedy? A buddy comedy? An absurdist, violent, witty mayhem extravaganza (a la Quentin Tarantino)? Too many characters are given little to do; in the end, they seem like red herrings that distract from, not add to, the movie's potential greatness. Some of the jokes seem mean-spirited, too: We're asked to sympathize with Diana, even as the movie makes her a discomfittingly easy mark. We can put up with the enormous suspension of disbelief that the movie demands, but we do have our limits.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Identity Thief's premise. How often does identity theft happen in real life? Discuss ways to stay safe on the Internet and how to protect your privacy and identity.

  • How is Identity Theft similar to, and different from, other heist/road movies? Does it add anything new to the genre?

  • Is the movie violent? How does the overall tone impact the scenes of car crashes, shooting, etc.?

  • Why does Diana do what she does? Is it excusable? Understandable? Or does the movie let her off the hook too easily?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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