Snatched

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.

Snatched. Such a clever title. It plays as both a reference to the kidnapping in the movie and effectively turns having a vagina into a verb. Showcasing a host of brilliant female comedians (Schumer included), (Yes, I’m a fan of hers), this road trip comedy really, really, really tries to be funny but rarely achieves the comic heights it is reaching for.

“The movie isn’t the gross out comedy it wants to be…”

Amy Schumer plays a self-absorbed, selfie-obsessed, dimwit Emily Middleton who has purchased a luxurious trip to Ecuador with her boyfriend hours before he dumps her pasty butt like a hot potato. Sobbing over a pint of chocolate ice cream Emily changes her relationship status online and her mother Linda (Goldie Hawn) rushes to her aid, inviting her to come home to stay for a while. After exhausting every option, Emily convinces her hyper-vigilant mother to join her on the trip of a Lifetime original movie. Faster than you can say “non-refundable” the two are at a five star resort in South America.

Sunbathing at the pool they are warned by a survivalist world travelers Ruth (Wanda Sykes) and Barb (Joan Cusack) not to wander off property. Of course they do when “Woof!” worthy Tom Bateman invites Emily and her mom on a drive through the country. The two women are kidnapped for ransom by crime kingpin Morgado (Óscar Jaenada) and thus begins a madcap adventure through the jungle as mother and daughter run from their captors to reach the U.S. consulate in Columbia.

The movie is deeply flawed but not without its charms. Katie Dippold’s script moves briskly enough and offers plenty of chances for Hawn and Schumer to shine, but it is also strenuously unfunny at times. When the two comedic divas can relax and get caught up in the moment, there is real chemistry happening. It’s infectiously fun to watch the two play off of each other. Sadly though, you should never notice a comedy trying to be funny and here, well, yeah.

“…deeply flawed but not without its charms.”

The film also attempts to land moments of genuine emotion that come off as painfully rudimentary and totally unearned. This is a frothy-assed comedy, I know. It’s not meant to change your life. But you know the moment, the one where the two women are in the middle of the jungle and realize that they aren’t so different after all? Yeah. There’s THAT scene in the movie.

The supporting cameos are an assortment of ham fisted, scenery chomping, characters that range from inspired to moderately funny. While Sykes is fine as Wanda Sykes, I mean Ruth, and Christpher Meloni is amusing as a wannabe Indiana Jones, we need to just decide that Joan Cusak is a god. Here Cusak plays a retired mercenary who doesn’t speak yet she steals every damned scene she is in. I want to see an entire Barb movie to be honest.

I want to see more Goldie Hawn. At 74, the woman barely looks 50, and she is still funny as shit. She could have done this part in her sleep. With the right material we could see some magic happen again.

The movie isn’t the gross out comedy it wants to be, it’s not the emotionally resonant laugh fest it aims for, and it’s certainly not a showcase for how genuinely funny all of these women in comedy can be. But it’s also not horrible. I LOL’d as many times as I groaned. Final verdict? Meh. While not criminal, Snatched isn’t entirely worth the full ransom.

Snatched (2017) Directed by Jonathan Levine Written Katie Dippold, Staring: Amy Schumer, Goldie Hawn, Wanda Sykes, Joan Cusack, Tom Bateman, Christopher Meloni, Ike Barinholtz

Snatched is worth VOD (**).

* Norm’s Rating System: Full Price (****), Matinee (***), VOD (**), Don’t Bother (*) 

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