February 8, 2013, - 4:54 pm

Weekend Box Office: Side Effects, Identity Thief

By Debbie Schlussel

If you were as grossed out as I was by the GoDaddy.com Super Bowl ad, trust me, the up-close and way too personal make-out scene doesn’t get better with two attractive lipstick lesbian actresses. That’s what I learned (but didn’t need to) from one of this weekend’s new “high brow” movies.

sideeffectidentitythief

* “Side Effects“: As I’ve told you before–and many of you know this even more than I do, few movies anymore have original plots and stories. They all beg, borrow, and steal from movies already made. If you saw Richard Gere and Kim Basinger in the 1992 movie, “Final Analysis,” you’ll figure out the twist in this movie, which is flat-out stolen from that movie. That said, this movie is a clever thriller . . . even if the “cleverness” was plagiarized from Richard Gere’s turn as the psychiatrist in “Final Analysis.”‘


In this movie, Jude Law is the psychiatrist who falls into the same trap as Gere. The movie begins with a scene of blood on the floor of a New York City apartment. Then, it flashes back to a wife (Rooney Mara) getting ready to welcome her husband (Channing Tatum) home from prison after doing a stint for insider trading. When he comes home, she begins having psychological problems like she did before he went away. She becomes depressed and soon deliberately drives her car into the wall of a parking structure. After she’s rushed to the hospital, she encounters Law, who treats her and soon becomes her psychiatrist, taking over from her previous one, Catherine Zeta-Jones. Mara tries several medications but none seems to work, so she asks Law if he will prescribe her a new drug, Ablixa (which doesn’t actually exist in real life, but has a website produced by the filmmakers), which has been recommended by Zeta-Jones.

While, at first, the drug seems to work, it soon drives Mara to commit a horrific act and crime and Law loses everything–professionally and otherwise–for it. But did the drug really cause this? Is everything as it seems?

I could have done without the up-close-and-personal, in-your-face lesbian make-out scene between Mara and Zeta-Jones. Ick. Now, that we have gay marriage and gays in the military, I suppose it’s the “new normal” from Hollywood that this must be forced upon us and in our faces 24/7. Other than that, though, it’s a pretty good movie, if borrowed from the aforementioned ’90s flick.

ONE-AND-A-HALF REAGANS
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Watch the trailer . . .

* “Identity Thief“: The idea for this movie is very current, and it could have been a great piece of entertainment (like the far superior and very entertaining 1990 film, “Taking Care of Business,” an identity theft movie featuring Jim Belushi and Charles Grodin). But it isn’t. Instead, there are groanworthy scenes, dumb gags, and so many potholes in the script, it virtually flattened my tires sitting through it. While there are a few funny lines and gags, the movie is mostly ridiculous, gross, and stupid. Sorry, but the noises of fat people having sex in a hotel room . . . not funny. Just eeeuuuwwww. Also, I know it’s supposed to be a comedy, but it’s just not believable or something that suspends belief. Oh, and I could have done without the anti-capitalist digs on Ayn Rand that were oh so blatant.

The story: Jason Bateman is Sandy Bigelow Patterson, an accountant with two kids, a wife, and a tiny apartment in which his daughters sleep on the couch because money is tight. He works for a complete creep of a CEO, who quotes Ayn Rand, and tells Bateman to read “The Fountainhead,” after Bateman gets upset upon learning that he’s not getting a bonus, while his boss is paying himself a $1.2 million bonus. But some renegade employees are leaving to start a competing financial services firm, and they hire Bateman away with a huge raise. The thing is, as that is happening, a woman (the calorically-gifted–or is that “differently digestive?”–Melissa McCarthy) from Florida is using his name and information (which she tricked him into giving her over the phone) to open multiple credit accounts, live the high life, and ruin his credit.

Then, it starts stretching credulity. Bateman pulls up at a gas station, and immediately his credit cards don’t work. Then, he drives down the street and a motorcade of cops and cop cars come after him and arrest him. We know that this is not exactly how identity theft works. Someone opens new accounts in your name, and your own credit card doesn’t immediately stop working and get cut up. And the police don’t work that fast, nor do they send a posse out to get you. The police produce the mug shot of the person who ran up all the credit and didn’t pay for it, and it’s a woman, so they know it isn’t Bateman and they release him. However, Bateman’s boss, despite seeing the mug shot, demands that Bateman produce the woman who is the identity thief and bring her to Denver to face charges. If Bateman doesn’t do this, he loses his job. What boss, after the police show him a mug shot of a woman who stole the identity of his employee, will demand this? It just doesn’t happen.

So Bateman travels to Florida to bargain with McCarthy and get her to return to Denver with him. After chasing her and struggling to get her to return, they are chased by a violent bounty hunter and a pair of drug dealers as they make their wy back to Denver. It turns into a bad road trip movie, and it mostly just isn’t funny.

The movie also asks us to feel bad for this identity thief cretin because she was given up by her parents and no one likes her because she’s fat, ugly, and incredibly clownish with her loud clothing and make-up. (A gay hairdresser and make-up artist remarks, “When will she learn that more is not more?”) So, we are supposed to feel bad for her because of this. Huh? Typical Hollywood liberal thinking. At the end of the movie, Bateman brings his two young daughters to prison to hang out with this con who is now “one of the family.” Uggh. We are the world. We are the children. Blah, Blah, Blah. Yadda, yadda, yadda.

Mildly entertaining, but mostly just a silly, gross, inane waste of your time.

TWO MARXES
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Watch the trailer . . .

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29 Responses

“If you were as grossed out as I was by the GoDaddy.com Super Bowl ad”

I literally felt nauseated and had to look away. I think godaddy had to think of a way to follow up their hackneyed “sexy babe” commercials and went down the path of shock value. It might work because it sure sticks in your mind. That commercial was something that you wish you could un-see.

DS_ROCKS! on February 8, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    You got to wonder about a movie when Rooney Mara and Catherine Zeta-Jones making out DOESN’T steam up the screen. This was a servicable movie, which I’m guessing is NOT what Steven Soderburgh was hoping to make. In a lot of respects, it played fast and loose with basic criminal procedure and medical treatment (the district attorney wants the defendant’s psychiatrist to work on behalf of the prosecution? The pyschiatrist who prescribes her the medication which gets her into her murderous mess remains her treating/attending doctor while she’s hospitalized? But as my wife says, “It’s just a movie, go with it.”)

    At least the movie makers didn’t turn this into an anti-Big Pharma screed.

    But far more disturbing is this: THAT is Channing Tatum, the “sexiest man alive”?????? Really??? Remember Elaine’s lunk of a boyfriend on “Seinfeld?” Channing Tatum is THAT guy, without the personality. Holy mackeral, I know I’m a guy, but if that’s sexy, Justin Timberlake lied: he didn’t bring sexy back.

    gmartinz on February 9, 2013 at 11:03 pm

      Gmartinz, I have a slightly different take on Tatum than you. He’s been playing brain-dead, hunky male bimbos for a while now, all of this coming to a head with last year’s “Magic Mike” (also a Sodderbergh picture). One of the things I liked about “Side Effects” is that Tatum played against type in this picture (as did Jude Law, who often plays “slimy,” and Zeta-Jones, who mostly plays sympathetic leads). Tatum doesn’t play a sex god in this picture, just an ordinary yuppie, and I think this change-up will be good for his career. I know that he was really getting on my nerves before this film.

      Burke on February 10, 2013 at 6:08 pm

        I mean Soderbergh, not Sodderbergh.

        Burke on February 10, 2013 at 6:12 pm

The solution is simple:don’t watch the insipid SB ads, or for that matter, any ads at any time. If you’re over 25, most advertisers couldn’t care less about you or your buying habits.

JeffT on February 8, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    Well, as a Steelers fan, I could care less about the SB unless we’re in it, so I watched it only for the ads and criticizing them is half the fun.

    DS_ROCKS! on February 8, 2013 at 6:31 pm

The Great One Who Runs This Website has informed us that Professional Athletes are 90% vermin nowadays (true). Therefore, I don’t watch their games. Therefore, I avoid their ads. Therefore, I have time to contemplate Debbie’s musings regarding things that are truly important, such as the spread of Sharia.

In short, by following Debbie’s advice, I allow Debbie to fall on the hand grenades of our debased culture for me.

Occam's Tool on February 8, 2013 at 7:05 pm

Speaking of Hollywood’s ‘new normal’, that’s exactly right. The last episode of that new Kevin Bacon show The Following had two male characters getting up-close-and-personal, in-your-face make-out scene. So now you not only need gay characters in every movie/series, they now have to make out as well. And I’m not sure but I think they might have been implying that these guys were hetero and turned gay, cause hey why not. Everybody should try it. I’m done with that series which is too bad because it may not have been half bad.

pa on February 8, 2013 at 7:30 pm

    “The Following” is a Dark Romantic procedural inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s haunting poetry. All of the Romantic poets from Byron to Eminescu died young and they left us poetry that seems to speak to the ages.

    This season’s TV shows are spiritual. I found myself fascinated by “The Touch” – which has a Chasidic Jewish character and which follows the concept that we cannot escape G-d – we can’t get away from Him no matter how much we want to and all of our lives are ultimately in service to His will.

    NormanF on February 9, 2013 at 12:31 am

    “the new normal”?
    Do you think you are seeing more ten percent or so of couples in movies,tv,etc “going gay”? Think of all th movies and tv you’ve seen over your life do you really think every show is now suddenly featuring a gay coupe?

    And really you are going to stop watching a show, you clearly enjoyed, because you saw two guys making out? weak.

    Pete

    pete bone on February 9, 2013 at 10:05 am

    You know, Pa, the thing I’m wondering about is, if we’re all supposed to believe and accept that being gay is something genetic, a difference in the sexual identify gene in the brain (or some such other unproven nonsense) then why is it that Hollywood keeps putting the lie to that by having previously heterosexual characters suddenly turn gay when it suits their need for a gay character or a gay plotline? If being gay is not a choice and gay people can’t help or control being gay, then why does Hollywood insist on showing characters who suddenly turn gay? One case in point (although certainly not the only one) was when E.R. had the character Kerry Weaver, one of the lead characters, turn into a lesbian after about 10 seasons as a heterosexual. It was obvious that it was just a sop to the gay agenda, but it was stupid, because it shows being a lesbian as a conscious choice that Kerry made.

    Don’t get me wrong. I know lots of gay people, and I don’t have a problem with it. But they really are a small percentage of the population, and I don’t want to watch gay people having sex any more than I want to watch hetero people having sex. And oddly, most of the lesbians I know were previously in long marriages to MEN, have children, and are basically just pissed off at guys. Really. Can’t say the same for any of the gay men I know, but it’s ALL of the lesbians.

    DG in GA on February 9, 2013 at 12:31 pm

In my opinion the 1992 Final Analysis was a horribly made movie. The editing was so horrible. In one of the bedroom scene with Kim Basinger we can the the production crew’s microphone slowly descending from above and stayed visible for a few long minutes!!!!

Rex on February 8, 2013 at 8:06 pm

    You were looking at the boom mic instead of circa 1992 Kim Basinger in that scene?

    PitandPen on February 8, 2013 at 9:28 pm

You have a good point, PitandPen. Kim was especially fine in “LA Confidential” from the mid-90′s, among other films of that era, so it would be somewhat inexplicable to be watching a distraction like a boom mike in that frame of “Final Analysis.”
Always enjoy (quotes) mega-stars who spout anti-capitalism rants while living in the lap of luxury on hard-working taxpayers’ box office dollars. If you hate America as structured, head for Cuba or Iran (of course you won’t, you miserable hypocrites) — rarely go to a movie anymore, and am very, very selective about what I rent on DVD/Blu-ray; you’re right, DS, that virtually all movie plots these days are mere recycling of older plots/themes — unusual indeed to see something novel in anything put out by the money-loving, luxury-loving “anti-capitalists” in Hollywood.

jc15 on February 8, 2013 at 10:15 pm

In addition to general dislike of Ayn Rand and her ideas, the leftists in Hollywood have never forgiven Rand for her fight against the Communist filth there during the late 40s, when the House Committee on Un-american Activities was trying to cleanse Hollywood.

Just like the Friendly Witnesses have never been forgotten or excused by these scum.

Little Al on February 9, 2013 at 7:42 am

My wife and I actually saw Side Effects although I didn’t know about the Richard Gere movie ripoff. We enjoyed it because it was a good psychological thriller with a few twists along the way. But we both could have lived without the extended lesbo-makeout scenes. Still, at least we didn’t see MORE of the two. I did have a couple of quibbles with it.

SPOILER ALERT for anyone readingwho hasn’t seen the movie!!

When the wife got the photos it kind of pissed me off that she just ran out, without even giving him a chance to say anything in his defense. And she never supported his attempts to clear his name. Yet they seemed to be back together at the end. I told my wife, if I was in his shoes I wouldn’t go back. If she was that quick to bail on him, who knows when she’d do it again? Oh and I noticed the NY detective showed up in CT to arrest the female doc. But her crimes were committed in CT (conspiracy and SEC violations) so it would either be the CT cops of the FBI. I know, I know….DRAMATIC EFFECT. That said, I thought it was pretty well done.

Sean M on February 9, 2013 at 8:58 am

Debbie last year my favorite employee asked for a raise. She said she hadn’t got one one in over two years. We gave her a 10% raise and I got her an iPhone 5 which she likes. She’s an asset and a friend but business is business. Also her truck is breaking down now, a.k.a Topics to Avoid.

A1 on February 9, 2013 at 10:43 am

    Thanks for sharing with Debbie, A1.

    skzion on February 9, 2013 at 11:23 am

@peat bone
Weak? Isn’t the incidence of homosexual couples a bit lower than 10% ?

“The 2000 U.S. Census Bureau found that homosexual couples constitute less than 1% of American households. The Family Research Report says “around 2-3% of men, and 2% of women, are homosexual or bisexual.”

Clearly whatever constitutes “normal” has changed and is changing but for you to pretend that your impatience has anything to do with adequate representation is about as weak as your guestimate.

Frankz on February 9, 2013 at 10:58 am

    Yes, you are correct.
    But I still think the point is validate that tv is not being over run by gay couples making out. One gay couple kissing out of the hundreds of other couples you see making out, doesn’t suddenly mean that the there are gays everywhere.

    And to give up on show because of one scene is weak. How many shows have plot twist you don’t like but you keep watching because the rest of the show is good?
    pete

    pete bone on February 9, 2013 at 11:14 am

Pete I don’t watch many tv series anymore but it seems to me that 10 or 15 years ago you didn’t see a lot of reality tv either.
We’re talking about trends here aren’t we?

Frankz on February 9, 2013 at 1:02 pm

While we’re on the subject of gay make-out scenes, maybe there should have been one in “Zero Dark Thirty” with Obama open mouth kissing with Reggie Love.

CornCoLeo on February 9, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    Now THAT, CCL, is an unappetising visual.

    skzion on February 9, 2013 at 7:33 pm

Apropos unwelcome sex scenes, I finally saw Magic Mike on video. I expected to see mildly entertaining trash, given Debbie’s review.

It was not even mildly entertaining. The objective attractiveness of most of the dancers couldn’t save this dreadfully dull, absurdly constructed quasi-chick-flick.

It didn’t even have the integrity to show gay members of the audience. No, in this impossible story, the male dancer-hookers only did chicks. Good one.

Maybe Channing Tatum should have told the truth, including the guys he went home with when he danced himself.

skzion on February 9, 2013 at 7:57 pm

Isn’t it considered unethical for a psychiatrist to have an affair with a patient, regardless of the sex or the sexual orientation of the parties involved?

Miranda Rose Smith on February 10, 2013 at 2:47 am

Yes but the Democrats argued successfully if you’re a liberal male, sexual harassment laws don’t apply to you. In that case, you can take sexual advantage of a female subordinate without worry for the consequences. For that reason, ethical prohibitions on professionals having sexual relations with patients/clients no longer have the kind of force they used to have. Not because of the law but b/c society’s values have changed.

NormanF on February 10, 2013 at 5:56 am

The so called “libs” want an “anything goes” society. They plan to have porn on TV every night and drugs legal. America is falling fast. They planned this many years ago and this is what has happened. Just like the frog in hot water slowly, slowly until too late.

Fred on February 10, 2013 at 12:22 pm

We’re already there… and the moral relativist rot has spread throughout Western society with no real resistance. For example, gay marriage used to be confined to Canada but its taken root in Spain, now the UK and soon France. Plus, its established footholds in a few American states. You do not have to be a weatherman to predict which way the winds are blowing in our post-Christian society.

NormanF on February 10, 2013 at 1:34 pm

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