By Mark Saldana
Rating: 3 (Out of 4 Stars)
Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn team up for a risque’ action-comedy and even though the results are amusing, they fall considerably short of extraordinary. Written by Katie Dippold (The Heat, 2016 version of Ghostbusters) and directed by Jonathan Levine (50/50, The Night Before), Snatched matches Schumer’s brand of awkward, self-deprecation humor with Hawn’s earthy and sweet matron. The two actresses work well together, but the material feels somewhat familiar and the humor just doesn’t always work. I feel that Snatched is a comedy worth watching, but these two talented actresses are worthy of something a little better.
Schumer stars as Emily Middleton, a thirty-something slacker recently dumped by her boyfriend Michael (Randall Park) and fired by her employer. Frustrated with her current situation, Emily decides to proceed with her plans for a vacation in Ecuador. Because her often flaky and irresponsible behavior has annoyed too many of her friends, Emily cannot even pay anyone to join her. With no other friendly or familial options, she twists her mother Linda’s (Hawn) arm who very reluctantly joins her on the trip. Things start off fun, as Emily meets and befriends a dashing and charming man named James (Tom Bateman) who offers to give Emily and Linda a tour of Ecuador; however, while on their excursion, the two ladies are attacked and held for ransom by Colombian criminals led by the infamous crime boss Morgado (Óscar Jaenada). The fearful mother and daughter must keep themselves calm and put their differences aside to escape and survive.
To be completely honest and fair, Snatched did succeed in making me laugh and laugh hard in a couple of scenes. The vacation-gone-wrong in an action-comedy offers all-too-recognizable story material, but the main comedic actors and the characters they portray keep the stale story and plot entertaining. Amy Schumer brings her signature type of character (slacker/trainwreck) which works well most of the time and is responsible for a good amount of the laughs, but does grate in a few scenes. Goldie Hawn exudes a more mature version of her bubbly personality and plays it straight to react well to Schumer’s antics and the frightening situation they’re in. Dippold and Levine offer some fun and wild comedic surprises, though one of the attempts at a gross-out gag simply falls flat.
In addition to the leads, the film features some entertaining performances and appearances by Wanda Sykes, Joan Cusack, and Ike Barinholtz. Their characters are a bit caricaturesque, but it was difficult for me to not enjoy the silliness. Tom Bateman is perfectly cast as the handsome and affable James, Óscar Jaenada performs well as the mean and scary Morgado and Bashir Salahuddin is quite funny as the angry and annoyed State Department Officer Morgan Russell. Finally, Christopher Meloni is an absolute riot as the wild and possibly insane Roger Simmons, an adventurous man who attempts to aide the Middleton ladies with their escape.
The movie earns its R rating from the occasional intense violence, strong language and sexual humor, so this may not go over well with more reserved and conservative mothers. However, for those mothers, daughters, and sons with wicked and wild tastes in humor, Snatched should make for a fun matinee this Mother’s Day. Still, the critic in me can’t help, but feel that a better, less redundant plot would have made for an amazing movie. Regardless of my complaints, I still had a good time and I’m sure others will enjoy the film as well.