If nothing else, the raucous, over-the-top new comedy Snatched should be grateful for snatching the irrepressible Goldie Hawn and luring her back to the movies after a 14-year absence. Teamed with the appealing Amy Schumer who is following up her hit debut Trainwreck, Hawn manages to ground this movie and save it time and again from its own worst comedic instincts. In lesser hands Snatched would not be worth writing about, but with Schumer and especially Hawn on board it becomes a comic adventure worth taking. It’s certainly not a train wreck, but it’s also no Trainwreck in terms of Schumer’s blossoming movie career.
As I say in my video review above, this movie sadly is not any sort of comic masterpiece — far from it. In fact at times it is incredibly dumb. But I have to say the stars are aligned to make it a pleasant enough ride even when Katie Dippold’s script and Jonathan Levine’s less-than-disciplined direction threaten to send it careening out of control. The premise has Schumer’s Emily distraught over being dumped by her boyfriend and faced with going on a planned exotic luxury vacation alone. What to do? She convinces her reluctant (with good reason) mother Linda (Hawn) to go with her instead, and the pair are eventually off to Ecuador (doubled by Hawaiian locations) and a first-class hotel where Emily meets a handsome bachelor in the bar and starts a relationship that ends that night in a drunken stupor (on her part). He offers to take her and her mother on an adventure to areas most tourists never see, and so the next day they are off on a little road trip. Turns out he is just a front man from some very bad drug smugglers who prey on American innocents.
This is where the proceedings turn into a less-than-credible action comedy as Emily and Linda find themselves stranded and in dire danger of being murdered. When Emily accidentally kills the main bad guy’s son all hell breaks loose, and Snatched loses sight of ever having hope of being a smart vehicle for Hawn’s return and Schumer’s Trainwreck follow-up. Very little of this is even remotely believable, but Hawn and Schumer try their best to keep this mother-daughter relationship afloat.
I have to confess there are moments I found myself laughing out loud. They are helped by a very funny but brief turn by Christopher Meloni playing an Indiana Jones-style American adventurer who lends a hand when they must escape their captors. Reliable funny ladies Wanda Sykes and Joan Cusack provide consistently amusing support, and there’s also a quirky performance from Ike Barinholtz as Schumer’s not-so-bright brother who tries to help rescue his mom and sister — mostly by having a running conversation with a disinterested State Department official.
Producers are Peter Chernin and Jenno Topping and Paul Feig and Jessie Henderson. Feig’s touch is evident as this comedy is cut from the same cloth as Melissa McCarthy vehicles like The Heat and Spy. Those films were on more solid comedic ground with Feig as director, and you have to wonder what Snatched might have looked like with him behind the camera. Still, it’s got Goldie right back where she belongs, and that’s a very good thing indeed. You could do a lot worse this Mother’s Day. 20th Century Fox bows it wide Friday.
Do you plan to see Snatched? Let us know what you think.