A consistently intelligent (or at least bright), coherently constructed comedy that is on occasion a rather pointed critique of the American education system in the…
It's really tough to have it both ways.
Let's say you want to do a broad, shtick-filled comedy filled with "Three Stooges" humor, e.g., a character is hit head-on by a speeding car, tumbles over the roof, lands with a cringe-inducing thud on the highway — and suffers nary a scratch or even a hairline fracture. The stuff of cartoons.
Now let's say you want to do an unapologetically sentimental character study in which one character with tears streaming down her face reveals the childhood source of all her emotional pain. The stuff of heavy drama.
"Identity Thief" gives us both of the aforementioned scenes — and while each set piece is executed with professionalism by the filmmakers and the actors (and stunt humans) involved, neither is particularly effective. The car accident comedy doesn't work because by that point, we've grown weary of the violent, consequence-free humor. Then the big reveal scene doesn't work because the movie has just spent 90 minutes telling us these people are cartoons.