The first major comedy of the summer season, Snatched pairs the comedic talents of Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn together, hoping to make for a project that’s equally thrilling and uproarious.
After losing her job and getting dumped by her rockstar boyfriend (in the same day), Emily (Schumer) coaxes her elderly homebody mother Linda (Goldie Hawn) to be her guest on a non-refundable trip to Ecuador. The two have an estranged relationship, and Emily’s persuasion is mostly based on the fact that she doesn’t want to head out on a trip all by herself, as her childish and selfish personality has alienated her from most of her friends. The trip itself is meant to be relegated to a posh resort, but Emily’s desire for adventure that leads to her meeting up with an attractive guy (Tom Bateman) leads to a daytrip into rural territory, where she and Linda are eventually taken hostage.
The premise that unfolds from this point, as the duo attempt to escape the clutches of their captors (it’s never explicitly stated what their motives are), has the perfect setup for an familial action-comedy, but Snatched quite goes into this direction. Sure there’s some moments of violence, like when an adversary is straight up murdered in by Emily’s own ineptness, but this element never really clicks enough as the script is focused around bringing as many comedic moments as possible to the table.
Goldie Hawn hasn’t acted in a film since 2002’s The Banger Sisters, which is why her return to the silver screen in this project as Amy Schumer’s mom has attracted so much attention. I wish it had been in a more promising project, as her role is considerably shafted to make room for Schumer to have extra gross-out gags and improvise on the script by Katie Dippold (The Heat, Ghostbusters). Hawn is a treasured comedic actress and its questionably why she’s left to portray the stiff, straight role of this mother-and-daughter buddy comedy – had she been given the space to do her thing then Snatched would be all the better for it.
I’ll admit that even though I’m not a fan of Schumer’s style of stand-up comedy, that her last feature Trainwreck was alluring as a star vehicle. It’s regrettable that that quality isn’t on display here – her character in Snatched is far more unpleasant personality-wise and it makes the task of empathizing with her eventual change of persona at the end far less earned. There’s also a distinct lack of chemistry between her and Hawn, some suspension of disbelief is required to imagine they could be related, but even so, their moments together have no organic sensibility and feel very phoned in. A large supporting ensemble helps to pick up the slack in terms of laughs (including Ike Barinholtz, Christopher Meloni, Wanda Sykes, and the amazing Joan Cusack), which helps Snatched to avoid being a completely laugh-free affair.
Director Jonathan Levine has a great track record with such projects as The Wackness, 50/50, Warm Bodies, and The Night Before, but here he makes his first misfire, in a relatively unfunny studio comedy. If you’re not really on board with Amy Schumer’s work to date, then I can’t advise Snatched will greatly change your perception of her. And while it’s great to see Goldie Hawn in something again, it’s a shame that she doesn’t get her due as a trailblazing comedic actress.