|year: 2013 cast: Jason Bateman, Melissa McCarthy, Jon Favreau rating: **1/2|
Sandy… that is, the real Sandy… works as an accountant while the fake Sandy has turned his life upside-down.
We’ll skip past his really bad day (Bateman doing a stock glib victim-of-circumstance role) and cut to the plot at hand: he’s given a week to go from Colorado to Florida to find his thief, and then bring her back to the police. Of course anyone familiar with TRAINS, PLANES AND AUTOMOBILES, DUE DATE and the recent GUILT TRIP knows this won’t be as simple as planned.
Actually, finding this woman is easy enough, but trying to subdue her is the difficult part. She has a penchant for painful throat jabs and can survive more brutal accidents than a crash test dummy and Wile E. Coyote combined.
Eventually, since they can't take a plane, Sandy and Diana have to drive cross-country and the inevitable road movie begins. A few semi funny moments occur, including an action-packed car chase, but a lot of McCarthy’s humor is too gross and over-the-top to seem like she’s earned laughs on her own accord. Perhaps HORRIBLE BOSSES director Seth Gordon is competing for the Judd Apatow/Seth McFarland super-R rated spotlight. But in this particular case, the gross out factor only serves as a crutch or distraction.
It's when Sandy has to become more like Diana, both cutting corners to escape vicious thugs and the law, that the characters not only grow closer, they become more real. And you gotta give credit to the lead actors for trudging through some deliberately sappy moments centering on Diana’s back story and shortcomings. They both do an all right job bridging humor and awkward pathos, especially McCarthy, proving she can act her way out of a limited comedic role.
The important thing is both Bateman and McCarthy make a decent team, and are often more likable than the somewhat standard script allows.