Directed by: Jonathan Levine | 90 minutes | action, comedy | Actors: Amy Schumer, Goldie Hawn, Ike Barinholtz, Tom Bateman, Wanda Sykes, Joan Cusack, Óscar Jaenada, Bashir Salahuddin, Christopher Meloni, Arturo Castro, Pedro Haro, Raven Goodwin
Amy Schumer is best known for her flat sexist humor and a good dose of self-mockery. The combination of these is discussed enough in ‘Snatched’. Schumer plays the smug Emily, who is dumped by her boyfriend and forced to look for a new travel partner for the trip that has already been booked. She finds it in her mother Linda, played by Goldie Hawn. Where Emily is mainly busy with selfies, in order to present an image of a world traveler on Instagram and similar media, her mother is extremely suspicious of the world. Emily’s naivety leads the duo, despite Linda’s caution, to be kidnapped while on vacation in Ecuador. That’s the premise of ‘Snatched’.
Schumer convincingly manages to portray an annoying character. Emily is so self-obsessed that it’s hard to feel sympathy for her. There is more of a vicarious shame. As befits a good Hollywood production, she does change during the film and that too remains believable. Hawn shows that she still hasn’t forgotten about acting. She turns Linda into a sympathetic mother, despite her quirks, who will do anything for her children. (She also has a son with agoraphobia or agoraphobia).
It is therefore not the fault of these two actresses that the film does not score well. It mostly depends on the plot, or rather, the forays that jokes take outside the plot. You expect jokes about sex, drink and femininity from a comedy with Amy Schumer. There are plenty of them, but sometimes they seem made up. The funniest jokes are the ones that happen naturally in the plot. So if they happen during a story element with a function. But that’s where the movie goes wrong every now and then. The low point is a tapeworm scene. That tapeworm has no function within the story and therefore feels rather aimless. Also introduced are two characters who are obviously intended as comic relief, but their contribution is more distracting than adding. An example of what is funny within the plot is the adventurer Roger Simmons. Jokes with/from him contribute to Emily and Linda’s misery and are therefore successful.
It’s a shame, because had the film been more focused it could have been an entertaining comedy. Now it seems like the makers also doubted the comedic nature of ‘Snatched’ and decided to add a few extra gratuitous jokes to keep it going.