Identity Thief

By Jared Young

Mailed on February 11, 2013

Stamp image Return to
StarStarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star

Dear Jason Bateman

Dear Jason,

I'm sorry to bother you this afternoon, Mr. Bateman, but our records indicate that you may have recently been the victim of identity fraud. Shocking, yes, I know. But before I can go any further, I need to ask you a few personal questions to verify that you're the Jason Bateman we're looking for.

Your earliest recurring roles were on which television shows? That's right, Silver Spoons and Little House on the Prairie. And the 80s sitcom that cemented your B-level fame? The Hogan Family, correct. After that, having toiled for a while in TV-movie obscurity, which short-lived role transmogrified your career? Of course, yes, Arrested Development _(though we also would have accepted Pepper Brooks in _Dodgeball).

Okay, thank you very much, Mr. Bateman. We can proceed.

Let's run down the details of this incident so that we can clear this up. Since building up professional equity as a member of one of the most dysfunctional television families of all time, your work history is rife with discrepancies.

An actor claiming to be you has appeared in a series of big-budget middlebrow comedies: Couples Retreat, Hit & Run, The Change-Up, The Switch (this last pair, apparently, are two completely different movies). Typically, he is the anally-retentive male half of an upper-middle-class suburban couple, occasionally as an officer of the law, but always as the parochial straight-man: conservative, anxious, always reacting with a sort of detached consternation to the buffoonery that surrounds him.

Identity Thief is the latest film in which this phony has leveraged your good name for personal gain. The buffoonery is provided by Melissa McCarthy, who falls and flails and curses and throat-punches as a colorful South Florida con-artist who steals the identity of a (you guessed it!) straight-laced suburban family-man.

Mrs. McCarthy seems, in this role, to be her true authentic self (although there is a case pending due to her Will Ferrell-like similitude). But the Bateman-imposter coasts from opening to closing credits relying on the feints and parries you perfected on television but have never had the chance to fully explore in film. There's a certain grace to playing the straight-man that you captured perfectly as Michael Bluth, and a gravitas to your inherent (and acerbic) seriousness that works wonders in the few dramatic roles you've been given. But we can spot a fake (it's our job), and this con artist can't hold a candle to you. Identity Thief ends up being another middling bit of February filler that isn't amusing enough to resonate longer than the thirty seconds it takes to leave the theater.

This is also the second time your doppelganger has worked with director Seth Gordon (we'll be contacting him, too: the atrophic disparity between King of Kong, his directorial debut, and his subsequent two films, have raised some suspicions about the security of his professional records, too). We hope to prevent such collusion from happening again.

Thank you for your time. We will immediately put a hold on all casting decisions bearing your name and begin taking measure to see that some of this lost equity is paid back to you in a timely fashion. Please log in to your Screen Actor's Guild account and change your passwords. We're glad to have cleared this up.

Thank you very much, Mr. Bateman. Have a terrific afternoon.

Jared Young

comments powered by Disqus
(% endraw %}