Misused talent is disappointing. Although Jason Bateman who stars as Sandy Patterson in Identity Thief was fantastic on Arrested Development he's never quite hit the same rhythm when it comes to movie roles. His co-star Melissa McCarthy who is probably best known for her Bridesmaids shenanigans has been quietly putting out terrific work for years — especially in the show Gilmore Girls. She's Bateman's foil in her latest film playing Diana a lifestyle identity thief whose social engineering wipes out Sandy's bank account tanks his credit and jeopardizes his new job at a financial firm.
Cue 21st century financial distress plot point about the little guy just trying to make ends meet and how he's family man and blah blah blah. Too bad an accountant doesn't realize not to give his social security number out on the phone to a stranger.
It's so easy to root for McCarthy and Bateman — so easy in fact that one can almost overlook the most half-baked aspects of Identity Thief: the limp road trip the even worse car chases the stupid subplot that affords us a few glimpses of beloved Breaking Bad-baddie Jonathan Banks the exhausting make-over and last but never least the weirdly moralistic and touchy-feely ending.
Identity Thief asks a somewhat interesting question which is what could prompt a person to steal another's identity?
The answer of course is a "Hobbit-sized" woman with an orange-tinted fake tan and tacky makeup who on one hand is charismatic enough to talk her way out of anything but lonely enough that she makes up a never-ending stream of lies to tell strangers who aren't listening anyway.
In the end she's not a sociopath she's just an emotionally broken person who needs a cream rinse and some neutral eye shadow.
There's something amazing and pathetic in the first scene where we meet Diana. She's buying drinks for an entire bar and naturally everyone is shouting her name (well Sandy's name) and clapping and rallying around her because who doesn't like free drinks?
When a bartender gets tired of her hijinks he tries to take her down a peg by sneering at her that these strangers aren't her friends and they'll never be her friends and that they only like her because she's buying them stuff. So she punches him in the throat.
There's promise in this premise when Diana is allowed to be vicious and wily but as the story transmogrifies into a road trip/morality lesson she is awkwardly defanged in what could be assumed is an attempt to flesh out her character and give her a past that would explain away everything.
Sandy is a weak character to begin with; the ongoing jokes about how Sandy is a woman's name is all too typical of screenwriter Craig Mazin who's penned all three Hangover movies Scary Movie 3 and 4 and Superhero Movie. At least there's not a smoking monkey right?
Bateman is often typecast as an Everyman because only in Hollywood could someone who looks like Jason Bateman pass for a regular guy on the street. He's that Everyman here too — a doting dad a loving husband a hardworking employee an honest citizen — but there's an ugly edge to him that Diana brings out.
What's interesting about this dynamic is that Diana becomes much more empathetic even before Mazin et al throw in a ham-handed backstory for her. The people that encounter them on their road trip — and the explanation for that is too exhausting to get into — see Diana as a fun warm woman and they give Sandy a hard time for being a jerk to her. (Cheers to a great Ben Falcone cameo as one such gentleman.)
It's not clear if we're supposed to be on Diana's side or if we're to believe that she's using her prodigious social engineering skills to her own ends or if it's supposed to be hilarious that men would actually find her sexually attractive and cool.
I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and go with the former. The latter in particular would just be too much to swallow especially given the garish make-up and clothes she's wearing before she realizes the error of her ways both morally and aesthetically.
Identity Thief is better than The Hangover and on par with director Seth Gordon's Horrible Bosses which Bateman also appeared in. It's something you'll watch on demand one night when you don't feel like moving off your couch.
Why is it so hard for these two talented actors and comedians to find good movie roles? If we learned anything from This is 40 it's that any movie can be improved by letting McCarthy improvise.
How much longer do we have to wait to see their own respective projects get off the ground? And why isn't Gilmore Girls on Netflix Instant yet?
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It's been three years since John Travolta and Kelly Preston's 16-year-old son Jett Travolta's tragic death in the Bahamas. Now, the actress is opening up about the health conditions and environmental factors she believes contributed to his sudden passing.
Jett died during the family's vacation in the Bahamas in 2009 after suffering from a seizure and hitting his head on a bathtub. "[Jett] was autistic. He had seizures and when he was very young, he had Kawasaki Syndrome," Preston said on the November 21 episode of The Doctors.
The actress, 50, (pictured above with John and their 2-year-old son, Benjamin, this September) believes Jett's health conditions were caused by a number of factors, including her use of antibiotics while breastfeeding, toxic chemicals in the environment, Kawasaki Syndrome (a rare autoimmune disease), and complications from her "fast and hard" childbirth. The antibiotics, she shares, “gave [Jet] thrush,” an infection of Candida yeast, which some studies have linked with the symptoms of autism.
During the interview, Preston, who's credited Scientology in the past for helping her cope, made a plea for parents to look into organic foods. "I strongly believe as a mother, as does my husband, that there are certain contributing factors that lead to autism and some of it is very much the chemicals in our environment and in our food."
Now, she says that she and John are trying to raise their two younger kids, Benjamin and Ella, 12, in a cleaner, healthier environment.
The exact causes of autism are still a mystery but it's spurred many a debate in Hollywood. Some celebrity mothers like Jenny McCarthy and Holly Robinson Peete have been outspoken, blaming the condition on childhood vaccines and promoting dietary changes among other things. Meanwhile, others like Amanda Peet and many in the medical community have said that not vaccinating children is irresponsible and dangerous, and urge the need for more research into environmental and dietary causes.
More:Kelly Preston Says Scientology Helped Her Cope With Son's Death
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Last year Melissa McCarthy successfully played a masculine-looking woman in the comedic hit Bridesmaids. But in her next role she's going to change it up, and play — wait for it... a feminine-looking man. Still with us?
In Identity Thief — due out next year — McCarthy will steal the identity of Jason Bateman's character — a man, naturally. Though she doesn't know he's a man. Universal explains:
"Unlimited funds have allowed Diana (McCarthy) to live it up on the outskirts of Miami, where the queen of retail buys whatever strikes her fancy. There’s only one glitch: The ID she’s using to finance these sprees reads “Sandy Bigelow Patterson” ... and it belongs to an accounts rep (Bateman) who lives halfway across the U.S.
With only one week to hunt down the con artist before his world implodes, the real Sandy Bigelow Patterson heads south to confront the woman with an all-access pass to his life. And as he attempts to bribe, coax and wrangle her the 2,000 miles to Denver, one easy target will discover just how tough it is to get your name back."
The Huffington Post got the first look at the posters for the hopefully hilarious film. It hits theaters next year on Feb. 8 and also stars Jon Favreau, Amanda Peet, Tip “T.I.” Harris, Genesis Rodriguez, Morris Chestnut, John Cho, Robert Patrick, and Eric Stonestreet.
[Photo Credit: Universal]
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Sure, he regularly voices characters on The Simpsons, but it's been a while since Hank Azaria actually showed his face on television. In fact, it's been since 2006 when he was starring on the now defunct Showtime comedy, Huff. Now we'll have the chance to see a whole lot more of the funny man because NBC has nabbed him for their single-camera comedy, Free Agents. The show plays on the mockumentary style of The Office and comes from Party Down's John Enbom.
Azaria will star as one half of the Hollywood talent agency duo as they navigate Tinsel Town and their own screwed up, recently single lives. We've got Azaria slated as Alex, but his on-screen buddy Helen has yet to be cast. NBC was eying Minnie Driver for the role, but she's been picked up for another fall pilot on CBS and thus the search goes on. Personally, I think Azaria is a clutch choice for the ailing network. They've quickly cemented themselves as a home for great comedy (hello Thursdays -- minus Outsourced) and Azaria's presence can only help to stoke that fire.
Update: Amanda Peet is set for Bent. This will be her first return to television since her role on Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.
Earlier: Now that NBC has picked up all these comedies, they need some stars. Enter Minnie Driver and Amanda Peet who are in talks to return to television with a few comedy pilots.
Peet is looking at a single-camera comedy called Bent, which comes to us from Tad Quill from Scrubs. The show would have Peet playing an uptight, divorced housewife who hires a hunky, laid-back, surfer-dude handyman and tries her darndest to resist his...er...charms. Sounds just about right for Peet, who's played that role time and again with perfect pitch, now how about that hunk?
As for Driver, she's looking at a pilot written by John Enbom who you may recognize as one of the writers from the unjustly-canceled workplace comedy, Party Down, and the cult hit, Veronica Mars. (Yay!) Free Agents looks kind of Office-y. It's a mocumentary style workplace comedy adapted from a British show. Instead of a boring old paper company, Agents takes place in a Hollywood talent agency and centers on two heart-broken co-workers (one's divorced, one just broke up with their fiance). This is Ari Gold territory, people. She's still in talks, but I'd like to see Driver return to television. She was interesting on her short-lived small screen venture, The Riches, despite her awkward American accent but would she really need to be American for this series? Come on, there are probably a ton of English imports at Hollywood talent agencies. Done.
Source: Hollywood Reporter, Deadline
The Whole Nine Yards star's babysitter, Michelle Werner, interrupted the thief when she stopped by Peet's Tribeca loft last October (09) and was confronted by a burglar, who had broken in through the skylight. The actress was not home during the burglary.
Career criminal Henry Santos was subsequently arrested and charged with the crime after being identified by Werner in a police line-up.
He went on trial in Manhattan Supreme Court earlier this month (May10) and Peet's screenwriter husband David Benioff took the stand on Friday (07May10) to testify in the case.
Benioff, real name David Friedman, told the court, "She (Peet) was pregnant and she was panicked. My wife's jewellery had been taken. It was jewellery I'd given her while we were dating and a pair of earrings my parents had given her."
Werner also testified, describing how she found the man holding Peet's jewellery box. He allegedly snapped, "What's up, b**ch? I live here", before fleeing the property. Werner was not hurt in the incident.
John Youngblood, a lawyer for Santos, who is also accused of stealing computer equipment from the couple's property, claims cops have the wrong guy and insists prosecutors have no physical evidence to prove their case.
Santos is facing up to 15 years behind bars if convicted for the crime.
Closing arguments are expected on Monday (10May10) with a verdict announced shortly afterwards.
Peet and Benioff live in the three-bedroom loft apartment with their two daughters Frances, three, and Molly, who was born last month (Apr10).
The 2012 star upset autism activist Jenny McCarthy and Autism United officials in 2008 when she called them "parasites" for leading a campaign to overhaul America's immunisation programmes, claiming vaccinations are largely responsible for autism in children.
McCarthy, who is the mother of an autistic child, led a rally in Washington, D.C. calling for the Federal Government to clean vaccines of all toxins and to change a loaded schedule of immunisation, which experts claim leads to the cause of autism.
The cause is controversial because leading medical groups insist there's no clear proof that vaccinations lead to autism.
Peet agrees with the medics, but she has apologised for her emotional outburst in a magazine interview.
Now a celebrity spokesperson for child welfare group Every Child By Two and the Measles Initiative, Peet has sparked the debate again as she prepares to become a pre-school mum.
She tells Self magazine, "It scared me when I learned how many parents were withholding vaccines from their children. It made me frightened of the possibility that some of these diseases are coming back.
"This is about the future of our children's health. It's about what happens when you become complacent and you're not vigilant as a community."
And she insists the statistics speak for themselves: "I learned that every day 540 children around the world die from measles when there is an absolutely safe vaccine that costs less than a dollar per child.
"My daughter is about to go to pre-school. If you walk by a school and you try to imagine 540 children... it's unconscionable that we're not getting the vaccines to people."
Peet's latest remarks are sure to upset McCarthy, who still hasn't forgiven the actress for the comments she made in 2008. She said, "She has a lot of balls to come forward and be on that side, because there is an angry mob on my side. I like the fact that I can say she's completely wrong... Until she walks in our shoes she has no idea."
And Autism United bosses are still calling on supporters to boycott Peet's films.
Executive director John Gilmore raged, "Ms. Peet's comments are deplorable and an apology will not suffice."
The scientists have received so many requests for information about the stunning blockbuster, 2012, and the apocalypse it details, they have chosen to post their findings online, and send those concerned about the date to a new webpage.
In the film, Cusack and Amanda Peet race to avoid a series of end-of-the-world events, brought about by a rogue planet which crashes into Earth - but the NASA know-it-alls insist the film is pure fiction, and even the suggestion that it ties in with ancient Mayan lore is a myth.
NASA expert Dr. James Garvin says, "We see absolutely no scientific evidence, no sign of any doomsday gloom or anything coming in 2012.
"We're well aware of the kind of threats that the movie depicts but there's no possibility of those happening at the time.
"If there were a renegade planet approaching Earth, we would have known... The last time we were hit by anything big enough to have been detected was 65 million years ago."
Roland Emmerich’s disaster movie 2012 hasn’t even hit theaters yet, but a TV spinoff is already in the works.
The TV version of the blockbuster-to-be will essentially pick up where 2012 leaves off, in 2013 (duh!), Emmerich told EW.com.
Emmerich will produced the as-yet-untitled series; 2012 exec producer Mark Gordon (Grey's Anatomy) will also be involved.
2012, starring John Cusack, Amanda Peet and a host of others, opens Nov. 13.
In the film, John Cusack and Amanda Peet race to avoid a series of end-of-the-world events, and now the man behind the special effects wants to continue with the franchise on the small screen.
He tells EW.com, "There's plenty to do in a TV show. The plan is that it is 2013 and it’s about what happens after the disaster. It is about the resettling of Earth. That is very, very fascinating."