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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Identity Thief

By
Adam Shaw
Source: Catholic News Service


Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy star in a scene from the movie "Identity Thief."

NEW YORK (CNS)—When Denver family man Sandy Patterson (Jason Bateman) discovers that his identity has been stolen—with huge credit card debts racked up in his name and criminal charges pending against him—it's not surprising that he expects the police to intervene on his behalf.

No such luck, at least in director Seth Gordon's morally murky comedy "Identity Thief" (Universal).

Sadly for Sandy, the titular culprit Diana (Melissa McCarthy) is a resident of Florida, which places her outside the reach of Colorado law enforcement. So it could take years to bring her to justice.

But Sandy's ruined credit rating and reputation have placed his newly secured, high-paying finance job at risk. So he decides to travel down to the Sunshine State, take custody of Diana himself and drag her back to his neck of the woods to put things right.

As it turns out, Sandy gets more trouble than he bargained for: Diana's illegal exploits have drawn the unwelcome attention of Julian (Tip "T.I." Harris) and Marisol (Genesis Rodriguez), a pair of ruthless bounty hunters who quickly decide to target Sandy as well.

Despite an interesting, if slightly unbelievable, premise, Craig Mazin's screenplay offers few fresh jokes. He relies instead on exploitative sight gags and foul language.

Additionally, his script seems to wink at theft in situations far removed from those narrow and extreme circumstances within which Judeo-Christian morality might excuse it. Stealing a loaf of bread to feed your starving family is one thing. Using your unappreciative ex-boss' credit card to fund a night of high living in a five-star resort, as Sandy eventually does, is something else entirely.

Do unto others as others have done unto you is, after all, anything but a golden rule.

The film contains skewed moral values, much slapstick and other violence, considerable sexual content including a semi-graphic nonmarital encounter, off-screen masturbation and brief rear nudity, occasional profanity, frequent rough and crude language and an obscene gesture. The Catholic News Service classification is L—limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R—restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

*****
Adam Shaw is a guest reviewer for Catholic News Service.





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Monica: The circumstances of St. Monica’s life could have made her a nagging wife, a bitter daughter-in-law and a despairing parent, yet she did not give way to any of these temptations. Although she was a Christian, her parents gave her in marriage to a pagan, Patricius, who lived in her hometown of Tagaste in North Africa. Patricius had some redeeming features, but he had a violent temper and was licentious. Monica also had to bear with a cantankerous mother-in-law who lived in her home. Patricius criticized his wife because of her charity and piety, but always respected her. Monica’s prayers and example finally won her husband and mother-in-law to Christianity. Her husband died in 371, one year after his baptism. 
<p>Monica had at least three children who survived infancy. The oldest, Augustine (August 28) , is the most famous. At the time of his father’s death, Augustine was 17 and a rhetoric student in Carthage. Monica was distressed to learn that her son had accepted the Manichean heresy (all flesh is evil)  and was living an immoral life. For a while, she refused to let him eat or sleep in her house. Then one night she had a vision that assured her Augustine would return to the faith. From that time on, she stayed close to her son, praying and fasting for him. In fact, she often stayed much closer than Augustine wanted. </p><p>When he was 29, Augustine decided to go to Rome to teach rhetoric. Monica was determined to go along. One night he told his mother that he was going to the dock to say goodbye to a friend. Instead, he set sail for Rome. Monica was heartbroken when she learned of Augustine’s trick, but she still followed him. She arrived in Rome only to find that he had left for Milan. Although travel was difficult, Monica pursued him to Milan. </p><p>In Milan, Augustine came under the influence of the bishop, St. Ambrose, who also became Monica’s spiritual director. She accepted his advice in everything and had the humility to give up some practices that had become second nature to her (see Quote, below). Monica became a leader of the devout women in Milan as she had been in Tagaste. </p><p>She continued her prayers for Augustine during his years of instruction. At Easter, 387, St. Ambrose baptized Augustine and several of his friends. Soon after, his party left for Africa. Although no one else was aware of it, Monica knew her life was near the end. She told Augustine, “Son, nothing in this world now affords me delight. I do not know what there is now left for me to do or why I am still here, all my hopes in this world being now fulfilled.” She became ill shortly after and suffered severely for nine days before her death. </p><p>Almost all we know about St. Monica is in the writings of St. Augustine, especially his <i>Confessions</i>.</p> American Catholic Blog The Church really is my mother, too. She isn’t a vague maternal force for a generic collection of anonymous people. This Mother truly nurtures us—each one of us. And for those of us who are baptized Christians, the Church has actually given birth to us on a spiritual level.

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