Uh, who are you again? Top Nine moments of mistaken identity in movies
This week sees the release of Identity Thief, a new comedy with everyone’s second favourite Teen Wolf, Jason Bateman, and everyone’s favourite Bridesmaid, Melissa McCarthy. We won’t let the fact the film looks terrible get in the way of this week’s list, which takes a look at the most memorable moments of mistaken identity in movies.
We’ve all wondered what it would be like to be the US president for a couple of days. Would we be Martin Sheen-like – dignified and principled – or would we go the Bill Pullman route and hop in a fighter jet to take out some alien scum? It’s one of the biggest philosophical questions of our time. When it comes to movie prezzas, however, I’m a Kevin Kline fan. In Dave, he plays a presidential lookalike who gets thrust into the big role when the real deal has a kinky stroke. Not only does he look like him, he makes a better president. Much to Frank Langella’s chagrin. Well, he is Nixon.
Who wouldn’t want to come home one day to find Goldie Hawn had moved in? Housesitter is a bit like Overboard in reverse. Instead of Goldie Hawn ending up in a house without her knowing how she got there because Kurt Russell is being a jerk, in Housesitter she sneaks into Steve Martin’s house and then passes herself off as her wife to all his friends and family. Goldie Hawn? Goldilocks, more like.
7. Accidental Hero
Also known as just Hero, it’s really Cinderella, except with an unshaven Dustin Hoffman as the belle of the ball. His no-good crim, Bernie LaPlante, grows a conscience and loses a shoe while saving survivors from a plane cash, only for suave – but equally (and always) unshaven Andy Garcia to take all the credit. Like most of director Stephen Frears’ work, there is much to enjoy here. And it has a terrific ending scene…
6. The Truth About Cats And Dogs
Okay, so it’s not as good as Must Love Dogs, but what film with ‘dogs’ in its title is? Quiet, Quentin Tarantino fans. In The Truth… poor Ben Chaplin gets hoodwinked by plotting Janeane Garofolo and Uma Thurman into thinking one’s voice matches the other’s body. Women can be so cruel sometimes.
5. While You Were Sleeping
Peter Gallagher is unconscious. That’s it. That’s all you need to know. That’s the plot of this movie. Ironic really, given that Gallagher went on to play a character whose nickname was Sandman. Yep, that was a shoutout to all you fans of The OC out there. Plot or no plot, While You Were Sleeping is actually really sweet. And why wouldn’t Sandra Bullock fall for Bill Pullman? He is the freaking fighter jet-flying president, after all.
4. The Man Who Knew Too Little
More Peter Gallagher now, this time playing Bill Murray’s brother (what a childhood that must have been) in this mistaken spy comedy. Murray gets taken for a hitman by almost every British actor ever after Gallagher sets him up in a role-playing theatre company’s fake drama. David Fincher made a version of this movie in the same year. It was called The Game.
3. Taking Care Of Business
Not many movies are named after a Bachman-Turner Overdrive song, but that honour goes to this James Belushi/Charles Grodin 80s life-swap shindig. Although a poorer cousin of Trading Places, it still has Charles flippin’ Grodin, so is pretty much guaranteed to be worth watching. When his Filofax (the film went under the name Filofax in the UK) is picked up by Belushi, much hilarity ensues. Well, kind of. But at least Charles Grodin is in it.
2. North By Northwest
What does Roger O. Thornhill expect when his middle name doesn’t stand for anything? Surely with an attitude to monikers like that he’s bound to become a victim of mistaken identity at some point? Don’t see why he doesn’t like ‘George Kaplan’ – it’s a good, strong name.
1. Teen Agent
What is it with movies about mistaken identity having their own crisis of identity? It may have been Teen Agent here in the UK, but this was called the rather more bland and De Palma-like If Looks Could Kill in the US. Clearly, the US is wrong. Although to be fair, Richard Grieco was as much a teen in this movie as he was an agent – he was just about to turn 26 when the film was released. The 21 Jump Street alumni’s first feature sees him play a high school underachiever named Michael Corben. While on his way to a school trip to France, a CIA agent who is also called Michael Corben is assassinated, leaving Grieco to step into the breach. Thankfully, Richard explains the entire plot for us in the trailer.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE MISTAKEN IDENTITY MOVIE?