Emily (Amy Schumer) gets dumped right before her planned trip to Ecuador, leaving her facing the prospect of going alone. Rather than face that, however, she coaxes her reticent, worrywart mother Linda (Goldie Hawn) into coming with her. Whilst there, Emily rebounds with a guy she meets at the hotel bar called James (Tom Bateman), who takes her and her mother on a trip around the beaten track. This proves to be a mistake, however, as James is working for human traffickers, who drive into his car and kidnap the women.
Comedian, and mass murderer if her reputation is anything go by, Amy Schumer is a bit of a persona non grata in the online world. After some rather daunting controversies and her Netflix show getting mercilessly downvoted, she still maintains certain bankability despite criticisms. After her film debut in Trainwreck, which I did my own analysis of here, she returns to the big screen alongside a piece of Hollywood royalty who’s been long missing, Goldie Hawn. This marks Hawn’s return to film for the first time since 2002. I gotta say, this is a weird one to come back on.
I’m not saying comedy cannot be gleaned from the situation above, but…yeah, it’s a comedy about holiday kidnappings. They don’t even take a darkly critical edge to it either, like in Four Lions-the situation itself is taken really seriously whilst the humour is derived out of how weird the cast are. Not that there isn’t merit to that method-director Jonathan Levine did that to great effect in 50/50. The problem there is that 1. 50/50 is a lot more sombre and character driven whereas this is sillier and zany, and 2. Cancer is not that similar to kidnapping in how people react to it.
That’s not to say this is an entire mess, however. Levine does keep the film going at a good pace without having the Amy Schumer crazy hijinks and fucking kidnapping stuff being completely too jarring (he has a talent for that). And the two leads are rather wonderful together. Despite my complaints, I do like Amy Schumer in pretty specific contexts, and Goldie Hawn just steals the show managing to be effortlessly funny and likeable no matter what situation the script puts her in. Also Wanda Sykes and ,Joan Cusack have fun supporting roles, even if they add to the tonal weird mentioned above.
Sadly, they just do very little to make the scenario engaging or transgressive as it probably needed to be given how dark the premise is. Amy Schumer’s incredibly unlikeable character doesn’t help either, even with the contrived moment to transition her character into having something resembling an arc 2/3rds of the way through the fucking thing.
Snatched has some saving graces, top of which being a decent pace, two very watchable actors with great chemistry and a director with a knack for handling ideas that shouldn’t work and making them do so. Sadly, it cannot really escape how tone deaf and jarring a lot of the story is, and a lot of cringey moments and fart jokes don’t really gel well with a recurring gag about Schumer’s character accidentally murdering people. What should be a breezy gals night out flick about the bonds of mother and daughter ends up just sinking in an overambitious premise and attempts to make it a more marketable film than a workable one. A shame.