Bateman is also a producer on the film, and early on he knew casting McCarthy would be the key to success.
"I looked pretty smart there for a minute, then we saw what she was doing in the movie, and there was really no way out," he joked. "But we pushed through, we got it. The film's decent. We got her just before she got real super expensive."
McCarthy liked the fact that this story blended her love of physical comedy with heart.
"I think the fun for me was taking this woman who's just, you know, this crazy criminal who doesn't care about anybody, and by the end she is willing to, you know, kind of sacrifice herself for this person she just met and his family. I love that we could do all that heart and have it be so funny," she said.
Bateman says the transformation McCarthy's character undergoes is one he can appreciate.
"Two of my favorite movies are 'Midnight Run' and 'Planes, Trains and Automobiles,' and in both of those films you've got this real annoying antagonist at the beginning and by the end you have a deep, deep empathy for that person. She did a great job doing all of that," said Bateman.
All of McCarthy's co-stars are now card carrying members of her fan club.
"America has a new sweet heart," said rapper and co-star T.I. "Move over Taylor Swift."
"Identity Thief" also features Robert Patrick, Eric Stonestreet, Amanda Peet, Morris Chestnut and John Cho. It's rated R and is in theaters Feb. 8.