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Film / Identity Thief

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Identity Thief is a 2013 comedy film, starring Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy and directed by Seth Gordon.

McCarthy plays the titular thief who royally screws over Bateman's character. As he attempts to bring her to justice and get his life back, she is pursued by two goons seeking money, as well as a bounty hunter (Robert Patrick).

This film provides examples of:

  • The Alleged Car: Sandy's rental car, until it gets banged up. The car he later buys for $200 is a proper example of this trope.
  • The Determinator: Skiptracer, whose specialty is tracking down bail jumpers. Fitting, considering he's played by Robert Patrick, AKA The T-1,000.
  • The Dog Bites Back:
    • After years of being cheated by their ungrateful boss, Sandy's co-workers, led by Daniel, start their own company, take all their clients with them, and offer to make Sandy the VP in their new start-up.
    • Sandy is more than happy to let Diana steal Harold Cornish's identity.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After all is said and done, Diana turns herself in and Sandy is cleared of all wrongdoing. A year later, Sandy has another child and he and his family are living in a new house. Diana is still in prison, but she's turning her life around and getting an education, and Sandy promises to hire her when she gets out.
  • Fan Disservice: The sight of Big Chuck's bare buttocks as Diana lifts the covers off of him for her to sleep with.
  • Flat Character:
    • Skiptracer. Considering Diana is already being followed by the other two goons, his whole role could've been cut and it wouldn't have made a difference.
    • The two goons come across as less interesting than the Skiptracer and only seem to be there as muscle for The Unfought Big Bad.
  • Forced to Watch: Sandy. Diana lies, telling Big Chuck that Sandy is her husband and that he likes to watch her get intimate with other men.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Diana pushes Sandy out of the way of an oncoming vehicle meant to hit him.
  • Hollywood Law:
    • In real life, even if a criminal escapes to another state the police can just call that state's police and get them to arrest them. And since Diana's crimes (identity theft and wire fraud) are federal it should be a job for the FBI anyway.
    • Sandy would also have a pretty easy wrongful dismissal claim against his employer if they truly let him go because of a police mix-up.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • Sandy leaves his keys in his rental car when he checks on Diana after rear-ending her, enabling her to drive off with it after first using it to cripple her own car (with Sandy inside it, naturally).
    • Diana doesn't keep her house locked, enabling Sandy to walk right in after he finds her.
    • The beauty salon employee doesn't lock the front door after closing time, enabling the Skiptracer to come in and threaten her.
    • The cops put Sandy and Diana in the same cruiser after they've been apprehended, enabling Diana to engineer their escape.
  • Immodest Orgasm: Diana and Big Chuck are quite animalistic in the bedroom. Much to Sandy's dismay.
  • Jerkass:
    • Sandy's boss, Harold Cornish.
    • The gas station employee who cuts Sandy's credit card in half when he tries to pay for gas.
  • Large Ham: Robert Patrick clearly has a ball playing the Skiptracer.
  • Made of Iron:
    • Diana is in a multiple-rollover crash and is later hit by a car, without any apparent injury.
    • The bounty hunter as well; he is in the same crash, taped to said car, and shot in the head. Other than a few bandages, he is fine later that day.
  • Might as Well Not Be in Prison at All: Julian and Marisol's boss Paolo is a prisoner who openly talks on a cell phone with them while a guard's watching (no doubt bribed to aid him), running his criminal business from behind bars apparently with impunity.
  • Name Amnesia: Diana doesn't know her actual name, which is the reason she went through many aliases throughout the film. In the end, Sandy finds out that her real name is Dawn Budgie.
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted—Diana assumes the identity of Sandy Bigelow Patterson, the same name as Bateman's character. This is justified, since that's what identity thieves do. She just happened to have found a guy with a gender-neutral name.
  • Police Are Useless:
    • Detective Reilly is completely useless, even when told exactly where the identity thief will be the following day at a specific time. This trope is basically the catalyst of the plot, in that Sandy must take matters into his own hands, and be a vigilante.
    • There are some other examples, where police can't seem to apprehend anyone unless they go completely willingly, or have been utterly immobilized. They can't even seem to get someone to use a breathalyzer.
  • Psycho for Hire: Skiptracer quickly proves himself to be one of these when he threatens to burn down a beauty shop to get some key information.
  • Right Through the Wall: Sandy has to suffer this as he shares a hotel room with Diana and Big Chuck. He retreats to the bathroom but he still hears them having loud sex and makes many attempts to drown out the noise by wrapping a towel around his head and turning the shower on. It doesn't work for him.
  • Running Gag:
    • Diana's throat-punching of people who make her mad.
    • The made-up story that Sandy's dick got messed up in an accident.
    • People cracking that "Sandy" is a girl's name.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Sandy refers to Diana as "Bilbo" at one point, and then later calls her "Megamind".
    • There is also a reference to Yoda from Star Wars and the famous "These aren't the droids you're looking for" line.
  • Schmuck Bait / Bavarian Fire Drill: Diana poses as an identity protection agent and asks for all of Sandy's basic information to steal his identity. Which is actually a common method of identity theft.
  • Shame If Something Happened: Played straight when the Skiptracer threatens to burn down the beauty shop unless he gets the information he wants.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: The Skiptracer is totally convinced hes a badass action hero, and ignores all evidence to the contrary.
  • Take That!: When Sandy's Bad Boss Harold is explaining why he and the partners deserve bonuses, despite the profitable company not giving a bonus to Sandy and other staff for the past three years, he suggests Sandy read The Fountainhead as if that will explain everything. Specifically, he points out that Sandy's job is useless and that Sandy himself can be easily replaced with a computer program, whereas people like Cornish are the ones who bring in all the profit to the company, which pays for salaries of the "lower" people. Thus, in Cornish's mind, he deserves the bonus as his is the only job that matters.
    Of course, he completely ignores that without people like Sandy, he wouldn't be able to do his job. Daniel understands the value of what Sandy does and offers 5x his salary, as well as other perks that come with being a VP.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Sandy and Diana gradually become these.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Diana gives us one when she barfs on a cop.

  • Would Hit a Girl: Sandy. One shot in the trailer (as well as the unrated version of the film) is him hitting Diana upside the head with a guitar hard enough to knock her over (she totally deserved it though).