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Snatched (A Movie Review)

Updated: Mar 19, 2020



Starring Amy Schumer, Goldie Hawn, Wanda Sykes, Joan Cusack, Ike Barinholtz, Tom Bateman, Oscar Jaenada, Bashir Salahuddin, Christopher Meloni, Randall Park, Daniel Bess, Kim Caramele, Damion Scandrick, Andre Derizans, Sergio Sanchez, Moani Hara, Raven Goodwin, Katie Dippold, Fidel Salcido, Modesto Cordero and Al Madrigal.

Screenplay by Katie Dippold.

Directed by Jonathan Levine.

Distributed by 20th Century Fox. 90 minutes. Rated R.

Snatched is not necessarily a very good movie, but often it’s a very funny movie. Sometimes that’s enough.

Even though the plotline is clichéd at best (and slightly xenophobic at worst), Snatched has a secret weapon – comedienne Amy Schumer. While this film is not as good of a display for Schumer’s eccentric comedic stylings as her self-penned film debut Trainwreck – or her TV series – it still shows off how completely down for anything the actress is. Not only is she not afraid to look foolish, she actively courts derision for her character.

Her character, Emily Middleton, is a gaping maw of neediness and insecurity. She is willing to do or be anything for people to like her, to grab the gold ring of a hot boyfriend and cool life. However, she is also a serious hot mess, and addicted to selfies and social media, which scares boys and friends away in equal measure.

We first meet her seeming to be the world’s most annoying clothing shopper, only to learn she is actually the saleswoman at the store. She loses her job, and right on top of it is dumped by her musician boyfriend whose career looks like it may be taking off and he realizes he doesn’t want to be tied down to her when the potential of lots of pussy is there. Therefore, she is left with no job, no boyfriend and a non-refundable vacation planned in Ecuador with no one to go with.

Strangely, though, the slightly plot-heavy Snatched feels more like a classic screwball Goldie Hawn movie – of the vintage of Foul Play, Private Benjamin, Overboard, The Housesitter, etc. – than it does a Schumer film.

So, it is probably fitting that Hawn came out of a self-imposed retirement to co-star in the film. Shocking as it is to think, this is Goldie Hawn’s first screen role since The Banger Sisters in 2002. And unlike Jane Fonda, who about a decade ago ended a similarly long self-imposed exile from the screen with Monster-In-Law, Hawn returned for a film that seems to be tailor made for her strengths.

Hawn plays Emily’s mother Linda, a former wild-girl who has settled into suburban domesticity as a divorced cat lady and the parent of two emotionally stunted children. Emily’s brother Jeffrey [Ike Barinholtz] is an agoraphobic nerd with serious mommy issues.

Against her best intentions, Linda allows Emily to talk her into accompanying her on the trip, because no one else will go with her. Suddenly the mother and daughter, who spend little time together and tend to snipe at each other, are forced to share a room (and a bed) in an Ecuadoran resort.

Linda is suspicious of everything going on around them and would just as soon read her book in the room. Emily is looking for a wild affair, and thinks that she may have found her chance when she is hit upon by an adventurous, handsome traveler named James (Tom Bateman) who offers to show them the parts of Ecuador that the tourists never get to see.

To no one’s surprise, particularly not Linda, they end up getting kidnapped and held for ransom. They escape, but the American consulate can’t really help them (a little Trump humor from the pre-Trump world) unless they can make it across the rainforests to Colombia.

Therefore, two suburban women with no outdoor skills have to hike over the wild to try to make it to safety, with a blood-thirsty group of kidnappers hot on their trail. This fish-out-of-water aspect adds some humor to the film – a running gag of Emily mistakenly killing several of their captors is consistently pretty funny – but it also makes the storyline more than a little cartoonish.

They are helped out by some other American tourists, a lesbian law-enforcement couple played by Wanda Sykes and Joan Cusack, whose character is completely mute because… well, why not? There is also an American adventurer (Chris Meloni) who appears to be too good to be true, and then turns out to be just that.

However, no one is really at Snatched for an Amazonian escape story. The movie exists for two generations of comic royalty to riff off each other and yell as things go wrong. Schumer and Hawn have a good comic chemistry – though Schumer’s sense of humor is a good deal edgier than her co-star’s – and seeing them working together is a treat.

Could the story have been better? Of course. But Snatched will make you laugh pretty damned hard. And like I said earlier, sometimes that is enough to make a movie worth seeing.

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2017 All rights reserved. Posted: May 12, 2017.

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