I have to admit, I went into this movie with the bar set low. The trailer looked dreadful and what’s worse, you sort of got the feeling that they put all the funniest bits into it. This is what I describe as a frustration comedy—a nice guy is getting screwed and a bad/ annoying/ overbearing character is doing all the damage. There’s a fine line with this type of comedy: The good guy has to have just enough of a negative in his personality that the audience can tolerate his abuse, and the foil has to have just enough of a soft side that we forgive him or her in the end. The question here is, is this Planes, Trains and Automobiles or The Cable Guy?
Sandy Patterson (Jason Bateman) is a nice guy. He has a loving wife (Amanda Peet) and two beautiful daughters. He works a Joe job at a finance firm, where he is routinely berated by his absurdly evil boss, Harold Cornish (Jon Favreau). Then one day, Sandy’s world is turned upside-down after he gives his personal information to a woman on the phone, who claims to be a representative from a credit protection agency. Diana (Melissa McCarthy), as I’m sure you’ve guessed, is not said representative, she is an identity thief.
Now I’m going to save you some time and crawl through several gaping plot holes to get to the point where Sandy must travel from Denver to Florida, catch his identity thief and bring her to justice on his own. Do the two bond on their road trip? Yes. Is there a heart-wrenching back story to explain why Diana is the way she is? Yes. Did I laugh? Yes. It’s no Planes, Trains and Automobiles, but it’s worth a rental.
It’s a 6.