Jonathan Levine’s Snatched wants to be multiple things at once – a mother-daughter bonding comedy, a raucous fish out of water story and a showcase for comedian Amy Schumer – but, unfortunately, the picture fails on all three fronts. Despite Schumer’s presence as well as a game Goldie Hawn in her first movie appearance in some time and a bevy of great supporting actors (including Wanda Sykes and Joan Cusack), the film is a mostly unfunny bust.
As the film opens, Schumer’s Emily is an unambitious clothing store employee with a wannabe rock star boyfriend. She loses both the job and the guy in the picture’s opening scenes, leaving her to run back home to her mother, Linda (Hawn), who spends much of her time alone with her cats and is obsessed with keeping her home’s doors locked and bolted.
Emily was supposed to take a trip to Ecuador with her boyfriend, so after she is unable to convince any of her friends to tag along, she invites Linda, who doesn’t seem to want to leave her house, much less the United States. Emily also has a clingy, grown up brother (Ike Barinholtz) who lives with Linda.
Emily and Linda travel together to Ecuador, where they meet another guest (Sykes), who warns them about not wandering too far away from the resort where they are staying. Sykes is accompanied by a pal (Cusack) who is a former special ops. Of course, the duo end up wandering off and quickly find themselves in trouble because, first of all, this is a comedy, and secondly, Hollywood has a history of peddling the concept that going overseas will get you into trouble.
The two women are kidnapped by a group of villains led by a long-haired heavy whose portrayal is, to say the least, culturally insensitive – then again, much of the film’s material might leave you in the uncomfortable zone. Also, the movie is not particularly funny. Aside from a sequence involving a clay statue that Hawn’s character molded, I barely found myself even snickering for much of Snatched.
Schumer is a funny and talented comedian, while Hawn has elevated silly material more than a few times in her career. Sadly, neither actress is given much to do, other than run from absurd caricatures of scary foreigners and spout mostly groan inducing one-liners (OK, I admit that Schumer’s quip regarding the movie Powder made me laugh and shake my head).
Levine has also seen better days – his 50/50 and The Wackness combined humor and heart, whereas Snatched has more in common with his previous feature, the woefully unfunny The Night Before. In other words, everyone involved here has more talent than is on display in this film. Schumer’s previous film was titled Trainwreck, but that name better applies to this picture.