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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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Pedro de San José Betancur: Central America claimed its first saint with the canonization of Pedro de San José Betancur by Pope John Paul II in Guatemala City on July 30, 2002. Known as the "St. Francis of the Americas," Pedro de Betancur is the first saint to have worked and died in Guatemala. 
<p>Calling the new saint an “outstanding example” of Christian mercy, the Holy Father noted that St. Pedro practiced mercy “heroically with the lowliest and the most deprived.” Speaking to the estimated 500,000 Guatemalans in attendance, the Holy Father spoke of the social ills that plague the country today and of the need for change. </p><p>“Let us think of the children and young people who are homeless or deprived of an education; of abandoned women with their many needs; of the hordes of social outcasts who live in the cities; of the victims of organized crime, of prostitution or of drugs; of the sick who are neglected and the elderly who live in loneliness,” he said in his homily during the three-hour liturgy. </p><p>Pedro very much wanted to become a priest, but God had other plans for the young man born into a poor family on Tenerife in the Canary Islands. Pedro was a shepherd until age 24, when he began to make his way to Guatemala, hoping to connect with a relative engaged in government service there. By the time he reached Havana, he was out of money. After working there to earn more, he got to Guatemala City the following year. When he arrived he was so destitute that he joined the bread line that the Franciscans had established. </p><p>Soon, Pedro enrolled in the local Jesuit college in hopes of studying for the priesthood. No matter how hard he tried, however, he could not master the material; he withdrew from school. In 1655 he joined the Secular Franciscan Order. Three years later he opened a hospital for the convalescent poor; a shelter for the homeless and a school for the poor soon followed. Not wanting to neglect the rich of Guatemala City, Pedro began walking through their part of town ringing a bell and inviting them to repent. </p><p>Other men came to share in Pedro's work. Out of this group came the Bethlehemite Congregation, which won papal approval after Pedro's death. A Bethlehemite sisters' community, similarly founded after Pedro's death, was inspired by his life of prayer and compassion. </p><p>He is sometimes credited with originating the Christmas Eve <i>posadas</i> procession in which people representing Mary and Joseph seek a night's lodging from their neighbors. The custom soon spread to Mexico and other Central American countries. </p><p>Pedro was canonized in 2002.</p> American Catholic Blog We sometimes try to do everything on our own, forgetting that the Lord wants to help us. Let's never be afraid to admit that we are weak and can't do things on our own. St. Paul gives us a great example: "On my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses" (2 Corinthians 12:5).


 
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