Seth Gordon first pinged on movie fans’ radar in 2007 with the inexplicably gripping and surprisingly hilarious The King Of Kong: A Fistful Of Quarters, a documentary about competitive arcade-game players.
Gordon’s scored another box office hit with his latest, though it’s sadly further proof that he’s an erratic talent.
Horrible Bosses’ Jason Bateman, in chronic eye-rolling mode, is a corporate drone named Sandy (there are even more snarky references to his “girl’s” name then you’d imagine) whose identity is stolen by a loud, obnoxious party girl named Diana (Bridesmaids’ Melissa McCarthy, whose dedication to manic unpleasantness is nothing short of heroic here).
For gimmicky movie-plot reasons, instead of just getting his bank to take care of it, Sandy hits the road to track down the credit-ruining doppelgänger himself. Once he does, they fight, scream, get drunk, have three-way sex with a cowboy and wrestle with snakes.
Essentially, it’s almost two hours of McCarthy hurling herself at the camera. Imagine Planes, Trains & Automobiles smashing headlong into Midnight Run, with one major casualty: the screenplay (writer Craig Mazin’s CV includes The Hangover Part II, Superhero Movie and Scary Movie 3 and 4; here’s hoping he brings his A-game to the upcoming Hangover threequel).
Certainly, the leads have chemistry, and McCarthy’s comic mugging is, if nothing else, energetic.
But the humour is so ham-fisted and by-the-book that before long watching it starts to feel about as much fun as actually finding out that some big-haired nut in Florida has hijacked your life.
A wasted opportunity: put the two leads in a movie that didn’t lazily rely on its high concept to do the work, and you’d really have something to laugh about.
Melissa McCarthy’s over-the-top performance as a low-rung grifter enlivens what is otherwise a groan-worthy odd-couple comedy.