Review: Snatched

Jonathan Levine’s Snatched is as bumpy and uneven as the terrain this comedic mother/daughter duo cover. Amy Schumer, Goldie Hawn, Christopher Meloni, Wanda Sykes and Joan Cusack go for broke with several laugh out loud moments to be had. If only the film fully embraced its daffiness for the whole ride.

There’s really not a lot to this film, it’s more of a flimsy framework to allow current it-girl Amy Schumer to do her shtick with screen legend Goldie Hawn returning after a 17 year absence. (Yes, the last film Hawn appeared in was the diabetic The Banger Sisters back in 2002). Very much a production line studio comedy embracing the contemporary norms of more sexually liberated dialogue coming from the central characters, Snatched tries to give both leads their fair share but the weight is pulled by Schumer.

When hapless mid-thirties Emily (Schumer) is dumped by her rockstar boyfriend on the eve of a planned holiday to Ecuador because his star is rising and she is going nowhere, she sheepishly returns home to her social media novice mother Linda (Hawn) at her behest. Longtime divorcee Linda lives in the typical middle-American house with her adult son Jeffrey (Ike Barinholtz), a middle aged shut in, and she fawns over her adult children.

Realising that the trip to Ecuador is non-refundable, Emily enlists mum Linda to come on the trip to get some fun in her life. Whilst there, the pair find themselves falling victim to kidnappers and have to find their way out to freedom and home.

For the less discerning viewer, you’ll be able to side step the abject racism inherent in the script, the comedy is set up as pseudo sketches. A running gag of Emily’s natural abilities as a killer is joyously off the wall, as is a welcome appearance of Christopher Meloni as a whacky boat captain and his ridiculous self narration. The totally off-beat way in which Levine structures the very dark material its framing the story around works well when it is on point.

The only real issue the film has is that it can’t seem to stay on point. The narrative drops in and out of comedy mode erratically, never quite sure what it’s trying to do or how it intends to achieve it for maximum effect. It touches on goofiness but fails to really commit to it. (If only it did, this could really have been the new Airplane!) And by failing to commit, it wastes a pedigree of talent at its disposal.

By no means is it dull, there are some very funny moments peppered in here, Snatched is a breezy and totally forgettable 90 minutes in a cinema.