UK Release Date: 19th May 2017
Runtime: 90 minutes
Director: Jonathan Levine
Writer: Katie Dippold
Starring: Amy Schumer, Goldie Hawn, Ike Barinholtz, Wanda Sykes, Joan Cusack, Bashir Salahuddin, Randall Park
Synopsis: When her boyfriend breaks up with her, a young woman takes her mother with her on the holiday of a lifetime to Ecuador, where they are kidnapped by a murderous crime boss.
There was much media ballyhoo ahead of the release of Snatched given that it marked the big screen return of Tinseltown legend Goldie Hawn, who had not appeared in a movie since 2002. She was coaxed out of retirement by Amy Schumer in order to play the comedian’s mother in this kidnap comedy. Despite some bizarre tonal shifts and some inconsistent scripting, this is a surprisingly fun film that boasts great chemistry between its leads and a premise that works well when it is able to straddle the thin line between silly and stupid perfectly.
Emily (Schumer) is left devastated when she loses her job and her boyfriend (Randall Park) on the same day, just before she is due to fly out on a non-refundable holiday to Ecuador. When no one else will go with her, Emily convinces her mother Linda (Hawn) to join her, despite her fears about being in a strange country. On arrival at the resort, the family befriends a pair of oddball holidaymakers (Wanda Sykes and Joan Cusack), but Emily takes more of a shine to an attractive bloke. The man lures the two women into the Amazon, where they are kidnapped, leaving Emily’s brother back home (Ike Barinholtz) to mount a search for his family.
The reviews for Snatched have been decidedly mixed, but it’s a fun comedy movie that benefits from the fact Hawn and Schumer were seemingly born to play mother and daughter. Director Jonathan Levine, who made the brilliant cancer comedy 50/50 a few years ago, has plenty of fun with the outlandish premise here and paints a bizarre tale of bawdy laughs and bloody violence against the backdrop of South American organised crime. Thankfully, the screenplay by Ghostbusters and The Heat writer Katie Dippold, keeps the laughs coming every time things look like getting too serious.
Much of the comedy that makes Snatched work comes from the unique and impressive chemistry between Schumer and Hawn. Their relationship is immediately believable, with Schumer’s trademark oversharing humour meshing nicely with Hawn’s portrayal of her mother as an uptight scaredy-cat content to be confined to her home. It’s this chemistry that keeps things moving in the early stages as Schumer amps up her rapid-fire delivery while Hawn tuts wonderfully. Even as the action kicks in later on, minimising some of the comedy, Hawn’s ‘told-you-so’ facial expressions are always enough to raise a laugh.
It’s clear that the film does lose its way a little when it focuses on that action and has an unfortunate habit of pitching its darker gags a little poorly. These moments in Snatched often see the narrative flick back to reliable comedy supporting player Ike Barinholtz, who does tremendous work as Schumer’s man-child sibling unable to live without his mother. Barinholtz’s increasingly hysterical verbal sparring with a State Department representative provides many of the comedic highlights of the film’s decidedly more uneven second half.
Snatched isn’t a perfect film and it devolves into a somewhat scrappy experience in its later stages as it becomes considerably more like a Liam Neeson movie than a semi-improvised comedy. That it hangs together at all is testament to the strength of the bond between Schumer and Hawn, which would certainly merit exploring in further collaborations together. Schumer hasn’t replicated the magic of Trainwreck this time around, but she’s continuing to carve out an impressive career as one of the most consistent comedic presences on the silver screen.
Pop or Poop?
The admirable comic chemistry between Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn proves to be a winning formula in Snatched, which is an otherwise ramshackle affair. There’s enough to giggle at in Katie Dippold’s script that you can forgive the film for its muddled final act and occasional missteps when it comes to the difficult tonal balance of its kidnap plot.
If Schumer and Hawn can work together again on something more consistent, it could be a comedy classic.
Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section.