SNATCHED opportunity for Comedy Gold
15 years after America’s sweetheart last starred in The Banger Sisters, Goldie Hawn returns to the big screen alongside today’s hottest female comedian, Amy Schumer, in the Paul Feig-produced mother-daughter adventure comedy Snatched. Putting these three names in the same sentence, movie fans would expect that it would result in comedy gold, but unfortunately this movie excels only when relying on cheap laughs and a few standout performances from its supporting cast.
Schumer stars as Emily Middleton, a spoiled and selfish woman with no direction in life who hits rock bottom after losing her job and her boyfriend on the same day. Credit Schumer for getting moviegoers to quickly understand why Emily is alone and so repugnant, however after seeing this whiny persona in Trainwrecked, in her stand-up, and now continued here, it makes one wonder whether its an act or who she is.
With a trip to Ecuador previously planned with her now ex-boyfriend, Emily is forced to find a new travel companion. And, as you can imagine, a pathetic, self-centered person like Emily doesn’t have many friends, leaving her with only one option…her mother, Linda, played by Hawn. Linda is a single, cat-loving, overprotective and overcautious mother of Emily and her brother Jeffrey (Ike Barinholtz), an 30+ year old agoraphobic who still lives at home with mom.
After Emily’s mother begrudgingly agrees to join her daughter on a non-refundable trip to beautiful Ecuador, we are whisked away to paradise where Emily meets a handsome guy at the bar who takes her out on the town for an amazing evening followed by an invite for Emily and her mom to experience another adventure the next day. It is here where the movie takes a turn for the worse after Emily and Linda are kidnapped, escape, and then have to avoid recapture by Morgado (Óscar Jaenada), a known criminal in South America, and his thugs. Hijinks ensue and we are treated to a few unexpected hilarious scenes, but not enough to carry this film to the finish line.
In perhaps the most disappointing development for this movie, Hawn plays the straight man (or in this case woman). With so much comedic talent, it is a shame that Hawn is handcuffed with a script that limits her ability to entertain as she did in comedies in the late 70’s and throughout the 80’s. Barinholtz’s Jeffrey is also a misfire. Most effective in his scenes opposite Bashir Salahuddin’s state department worker, too much screen time is spent on Jeffrey, a character perhaps more annoying than the self-absorbed Emily and who becomes less funny each time he calls for his mother.
Snatched includes its fair share of laugh out loud moments, including one of the best spit takes in movie history (unfortunately ruined by the red band trailer so avoid it if you can). In fact, the movie is at its best when it relies on cheap sight gags and potty humor, both tactics that result in prolonged laughs. That, and a scene-stealing Bashir Salahuddin and silent Joan Cusack. Unfortunately, its the inability to effectively piece together the cheap sight gags and potty humor with an effective script that feel like a sure-fire winner was snatched from us.