Film Review: ‘Snatched’

If you’re looking for the mother of all comedies—keep looking—though you might get one or two laughs here.

After earning acclaim for her work in Trainwreck in 2015, audiences have been waiting for Amy Schumer’s next cinematic outing, which has finally arrived in the form of Snatched. In the film, Schumer plays Emily, a woman with no direction in life, who manages to lose her job and get dumped by her boyfriend within the first five minutes of the film. The timing of the breakup couldn’t be worse, as Emily had booked a non-refundable trip for two to Ecuador.

Not wanting to take the trip alone, she takes along her estranged, but attentive mother, Linda (played by Goldie Haven, an actress we missed for even longer). Their little getaway turns into a life-threatening disaster when they are abducted by a group of kidnappers. Though they manage to escape relatively quickly, they spend most of the film on the run from their kidnappers as they make their way to safety through the unknown jungles of Ecuador.

The film’s setup is pretty interesting, and the pairing up of Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn is a match made in heaven. The film also has a significant supporting cast with the likes of Christopher Meloni, Wanda Sykes, Randall Park, and Joan Cusack, who are all hilarious actors with impeccable timing.

The film has a great director, too—Jonathan Levine. One his strengths as a director is finding the right balance between the film’s drama and comedy, which he demonstrated nearly perfectly with 50/50, a film that I consider one of my favorites. Strangely, the execution of Snatched more resembles that of Levine’s previous film, The Night Before, in which the comedic and dramatic elements, while satisfactory, could have been further expanded.

For example, there is a moment of where Emily and Linda stop to have an argument over how each one gets on the other’s nerves. This could have been a great moment where we delve deep into the characters’ relationship, but it ends almost as quickly as it began, cutting to Emily having a tapeworm removed from her system. There are other moments where Levine could have explored the parent-child relationship as he did in 50/50, but the fact that the two are constantly on the run doesn’t allow for these scenes to develop. There seems to be a trend going on in modern Hollywood where emotional beats are discarded in favor of an overabundance of action. Just watch Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast remake and you will see what I mean, although Snatched, by comparison, does have better pacing.

Even though the movie is short on emotional depth, it can still be a little dark. A running gag throughout the movie involves the unusual deaths that strike the people Emily and Linda run into. While amusing at first, it still feels too heavy for a film like this, unless seeing someone harpooned in the throat tickles your fancy.

Amy Schumer’s performance in Trainwreck showed how good she could be as an actress, but this film feels like a step down for her talent. Even Goldie Hawn, who has not been in a movie since 2002, needs a better return than this. Once in a while they have funny moments, including a scene where Schumer prepares for a date by washing her private areas, and also one with Hawn trying a questionable-looking drink. Despite moments like these and the great chemistry between Schumer and Hawn, the movie lacks comedic bite.

Snatched is a film that contains a few laughs without being outrageously funny, and is emotional enough without tugging too hard at your heartstrings. As far as an outing for Mothers Day, it is watchable for those who are fans of Amy Schumer. Aside from that, though, it is not worth rushing to the theaters for. Next time, Ms. Schumer, just go all out, for we need to keep laughing! As for Jonathan Levine, hopefully he makes another movie with as much emotional depth as 50-50. If you’re no fan of Amy Schumer and want to give your Mom a Mother’s Day gift, just wait and take her to Alien: Covenant.

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