‘Identity Thief’ Defies Critics with “Tractor Sized” Box Office
Despite some of the most vindictive and hateful critical reviews in years, the Jason Bateman / Melissa McCarthy comedy Identity Thief drove audiences wild with a massive weekend box office estimated at $36.6 million. The total was much higher than expected and likely could have been even larger had snowstorms in the Northeast kept moviegoers away from theaters. For comparison, McCarthy’s last big hit Bridesmaids opened at $26 million and Bateman’s last big hit Horrible Bosses opened at $28 million.
The film’s unrealistic premise gave critics plenty of opportunity to get creative with their reviews. But instead of just telling readers what they though, some critics went even further with pieces such as 25 R-Rated Comedies You Could Watch Instead of ‘Identity Thief’, ‘Identity Thief’ Steals Two Hours of Your Life, Will Never Give Them Back, and others calling it a “lazy comedy” or ”the comedy equivalent of mud-wrestling without the mud.”
The most scathing review came from veteran reviewer Rex Reed of the New York Observer. Instead of focusing on the film’s flaws, Reed went into attack mode and focused on McCarthy’s weight, cruelly describing her as ”tractor-sized,” a “humongous creep” and a “hippo” in the review. Reed’s critique most definitely crossed the line and some are already lining up to defend McCarthy. Deadline noted that her “lack of vanity is important”, while the best retort came from McCarthy’s Bridesmaids director Paul Feig who tweeted: For his catty and school bully name-calling of the supremely talented Melissa McCarthy, I cordially invite Mr. Rex Reed to go fuck himself.
In Hollywood, nobody cares about reviews as long as you do well at the box office. So, McCarthy’s status as an A-list comedic actress appears solid. And the sting of those cruel reviews must surely feel a whole lot better now.