Remember Jason Bateman when he was Ricky Schroder’s bully in the TV series “Silver Spoons”? He was funny then. I enjoy him in the slick, fast paced and side splitting “Arrested Development”. Even though he has had some solid cameos his leading roles in film have not sizzled.
Bateman plays Sandy Peterson, loving husband and father. His Financial Sector job leaves him with all but no savings. When his future is jeopardised by an identity thieving scam artist in Florida (Melissa McCarthy) Sandy cannot wait the six months it will take to bring charges and sets off to find the woman himself.
With the first 10 minutes out of the way this turns into a road movie. Bateman and McCarthy must drive back to Florida while being chased by a number of heavies who are after her for previous scams.
This is a silly and meant-to-be heart-warming comedy about a real situation. When you base something in reality you need to make sure that the ‘real’ elements stand up to scrutiny. You don’t need a magnifying glass here to see short cuts taken by the filmmakers.
For a seemingly intelligent and earnest man Sandy (Bateman) makes too many ridiculous decisions which serve only to propel the comedy plot. McCarthy is believable to a point as the irritating, friendless con artist but stretches that belief when she manages to survive the sort of cartoon violence that Tom felt at the hands of Jerry. Robert Patrick’s debt collector is funny at first with his aggressive side of charming attitude but that fades away as the plot forces him to clash with another pair of equally inept pursuers.
Bateman plays it straight to McCarthy’s offensive ‘humour’. You can fit the amount of genuine funny moments into the palm of your hand and still have room for popcorn and M&Ms.