When my husband recommended “Snatched”, I wasn’t sure. I’ve never seen any of Amy Schumer’s brand of comedy. I do love Goldie Hawn and this is her first movie since 2002. The trailer did look like it might be a funny premise. My husband was right, this movie was a blast and I’m glad I got to see Goldie back in action.
“Snatched” begins with Emily Middleton (Amy Schumer) getting fired and her boyfriend, Michael (Randall Park) breaking up with her right before their trip to Ecuador. She fails to persuade any of her friends to go with her on her non-refundable trip. But after visiting with her ultra-cautious mother Linda (Goldie Hawn) who lives with a horde of cats and her agoraphobic son Jeffrey (Ike Barinholtz), Emily convinces her mother to go to South America with her.
Once there, Emily has no luck getting her mother to do anything but stay inside reading. So Emily heads out alone where she meets a young man, James (Tom Bateman). James convinces her and her mother to head out on a day trip with him. Along the way, their trip goes awry; the two women are snatched by kidnappers and must work together on a wild and dangerous jungle adventure recruiting help along the way.
Both the audience and I laughed the whole time. While Amy Schumer may not be everyone’s comedy genius, this movie utilized her talents along with Goldie Hawn well. Even from the first line, “The Kidnappers do bad stuff too,” made me laugh, setting up the premise of the movie and maintaining the concept right to the end, that Emily and her mother Linda are a force to be reckoned with when they work together. The idea of the pair working together and working out their differences was at the heart of the film and I think any woman who has any kind of mother-daughter bond can empathize with that idea. The pair make a believable mother and daughter, their chemistry together excellent.
I was not certain what I’d think of Amy Schumer, not being familiar with her material but I have to say, I found her dorky, dreamer, less than perfect routine perfect for this movie. Goldie Hawn was a great foil to Amy’s more physical humor. There were points where the humor could have gone over the top but for the most part, due to the writing and editing, it was well balanced and the two traded barbs and insults as only a mother and daughter can while managing heart and showing the bond between the two by the end.
The other reason this movie works well are the secondary characters. Along the way in their adventure, Emily and Linda meet a variety of characters. Those characters, each and every one, steal their scenes. When the mother and daughter arrive at the hotel, they begin by meeting Ruth and Barb (Wanda Sykes and Joan Cusack) a “platonic” pair staying at the same locale. Ruth and Barb end up helping them when Emily has to rescue her mother and both are wildly funny. Wanda is fantastic with her biting sarcasm. In an unusual and brilliant decision, Joan plays her part in total silence, using body language and facial expression to steal every scene she’s in. Whether it is with a look or shimmying up a fence like a monkey, Joan made me laugh every time.
Emily and Linda also meet a rough adventurer (Christopher Meloni) and try to coordinate with an agent Morgan Russell (Bashir Salahuddin) at the State Department. Both play their small roles to full effect and while I can’t really share more without giving away parts of the story, both are wildly funny. Even the kidnapper Morgado (Óscar Jaenada) does a great job and never goes over the top with his part.
There are a few elements that don’t work. I didn’t truly find Ike Barinholtz that funny as Emily’s annoying brother. He’s meant to be funny in his mannerisms but I’d rather not be annoyed in my comedies. There is nothing that innovative about the comedy and most of the story, I figured out quickly. One of the bits in the movie just was over the top and didn’t work for me. But what did work was the timing of the jokes and the comedic stylings of the actors. It has some very female centric humor such as the women rescuing themselves rather than relying on a guy and a joke about an older man-younger woman combination but still appeals to a wider audience as my husband enjoyed the movie every bit as much as I did.
If you want to see a mother-daughter film and are looking to bond over Mother’s day weekend, this is a heartwarming and laugh out loud movie. Goldie Hawn and Amy Schumer are both entertaining while the secondary characters are brilliantly funny. The true breakout performance was Joan Cusack who is the ultimate scene stealer. This was a wild and crazy comedy adventure that I’m glad I didn’t miss.
Rating: 4 stars