Directed by Jonathan Levine.
Starring Amy Schumer, Goldie Hawn, Joan Cusack, Ike Barinholtz, Wanda Sykes, and Christopher Meloni.
When her boyfriend dumps her before their exotic vacation, a young woman persuades her ultra-cautious mother to travel with her to paradise, with unexpected results.
Around halfway through Snatched (an exotic-vacation-gone-wrong comedy from Jonathan Levine who is known for directing emotional cancer dramedy 50/50 and the underrated zombie rom-com Warm Bodies, and written by Katie Dippold who most recently worked on the divisive Ghostbusters reboot) is a scene where daughter Emily (played with the crudeness and feminist bite to be expected from the consistently controversial Amy Schumer) is told by random local doctors out in the Amazon (don’t ask me, nothing in this movie really makes a lick of sense, increasingly becoming too ridiculous even for an outlandish comedy) that a tapeworm has invaded her upper body. Of course, this is after being told that she took a massive shit in her pants upon fainting in the jungle (toilet humor is excessive and annoying throughout), but nonetheless, a hands-on extraction of the physical virus prepares one for either an extreme gross-out segment or something memorable and hilarious. That’s what one would think anyway, but just like the rest of Snatched, the gag comes and goes in wholly forgettable execution.
Snatched simply goes through the motions as an appropriately timed Mother’s Day comedy release, although it is nowhere near as downright embarrassingly terrible as last year’s film named after the special holiday. Raunchy jokes and scenarios (frequently based on the private parts of Emily, including a game Amy Schumer who does deserve to be applauded for her courage to do a little nudity) make up a good chunk of the comedy, except it generally comes across as aggressively annoying due to the fact that neither daughter or mother Linda (played by Goldie Hawn, inexplicably returning to film acting for this after a 15-year hiatus) aren’t very likable.
Specifically, Emily is a selfish, rude, spoiled bratty, alcoholic with extremely poor judgment. It’s hard to empathize or care regarding the outcome of their kidnapped fate considering the daft decisions she makes along with ignorant treatment toward her mother. Furthermore, Goldie Hawn seems a bit lost here, never really able to develop enough serviceable comedic chemistry with Amy Schumer, and essentially doesn’t have much to do besides acting overprotective and conservative in an over-the-top fashion.
It doesn’t help that Snatched is an editing catastrophe, filled with transitions showcasing characters going from utterly lost in the Amazon to having a temporary safety. At times it feels as if the script has absolutely no idea what to actually do with the kidnapping premise besides have the duo escape captivity momentarily and end up in the middle of nowhere again. At least the pacing for the movie is perfectly fine, as the shenanigans do not outstay their welcome at only 91 minutes. If Snatched had gone on even a little bit longer I would have truly begun to despise the experience.
Saving the hijinks from being an absolute trainwreck, however, are quite a few supporting characters that bring in a number of laughs. Wanda Sykes and Joan Cusack play a couple of explorers named Ruth and Barb with some military experience under their belt; first, they are just viewed as a couple of crazy travelers until their help becomes necessary. Naturally, Wanda Sykes is gifted at comedic line delivery so pretty much all of her lines elicit humor, whereas Joan Cusack is given the opportunity to be very unorthodox and make some ridiculous facial expressions while performing all sorts of bizarre feats. To be honest, at some point during production 20th Century Fox should have scrapped Snatched entirely just to make a comedy called The Adventures of Ruth and Barb. Now there’s something with potential.
Anyway, Ike Barinholtz gets to play the nerdy, agoraphobic, absolute mama’s boy (good luck getting his childlike delivery of “mama” out of your head) determined to help get his mother back home safe, getting the film’s biggest laughs. If more time was spent with the supporting characters than the mother and daughter duo, Snatched would actually drastically increase in quality.
What’s left is a movie that doesn’t feel the slightest bit sincere when the entirely predictable “I’m selfish and should care about my mother more” realization kicks in, as Emily’s problems go far beyond just that. The criminals also have literally no explanation for their motives. I guess “ALL MEN ARE EVIL” is a good enough reasoning for those behind this movie. Snatched is just Trainwreck set in Ecuador and with the sharp, grounded and resonating writing from Judd Apatow replaced with Amy Schumer doubling down on sexual humor to scrape by on juvenile laughs. I’m also not against the feminist ideals the film is attempting to promote, but am simply frustrated with the execution. Feminism doesn’t get terrible comedy a passing grade.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★