‘Snatched’ fumbles Amy Schumer-Goldie Hawn pairing
Amy Schumer’s promising starring debut in “Trainwreck” hits the brakes in “Snatched,” a rail-thin comedy most notable for the comic’s Mother’s Day-adjacent pairing with Goldie Hawn. Heavy on sight gags, the movie delivers some raunchy laughs, but they arrive so sporadically as to make for a bumpy ride.
Schumer doesn’t exactly endeavor to demonstrate her acting range in this latest outing, which again casts her as self-absorbed and a tad clueless. In short order, her selfie-snapping Emily loses her retail job and boyfriend (Randall Park), a musician who leaves her holding a booked vacation to Ecuador with nobody to join her.
After her friends all pass, Emily grudgingly invites her mother (Hawn), who lives a pretty cloistered existence with Emily’s shut-in brother Jeffrey (Ike Barinholtz). Mom resists but is eventually convinced by the term “nonrefundable.”
Inevitably, the two bicker, right up to the point when they’re abducted, thrown in a car trunk and whisked off to Colombia. (The movie, it’s worth noting, was actually filmed in Hawaii.)
The fact mom and daughter are presented as classic ugly Americans doesn’t offset the South American stereotypes, including a sneering crime lord (Óscar Jaenada) bent on revenge. Although to be fair, almost everything here is pitched so broadly as to render “Snatched” little more than a live-action cartoon.
An unlikely escape puts the central pair on the run together, navigating jungle perils with the help of a strange assortment of characters, played by the likes of Chris Meloni and Wanda Sykes. Jeffrey, meanwhile, becomes increasingly frantic, pestering a State Department that seems woefully unconcerned about a couple of Americans being kidnapped abroad.
Director Jonathan Levine and writer Katie Dippold (whose credits include the “Ghostbusters” reboot) wring a few gross-out giggles from the situations, mostly in the form of bodily functions and played-for-laughs deaths.
What “Snatched” sorely lacks is enough ingenuity to sustain its slim premise, resulting in too many arid stretches despite the lush surroundings and frenetic tone.
The best parts generally hew toward the movie’s softer side, with Hawn’s mom making no apologies for having built her life around her kids. To say that mother and daughter bond thanks to their ordeal gives away nothing, but the warm fuzzies are clearly just a garnish to the yelling and running.
Hawn’s return to the screen is something of an event, coming after a near-15-year hiatus. That feels more notable because the movie resembles some of the screwball roles she excelled at, on the order of “Foul Play.”
As for Schumer, “Snatched” should offer a good test of how potent her following is after a pretty rough run of publicity, from a controversial Lena Dunham interview to criticism of her self-described tribute to Beyoncé’s “Formation” video.
Before the movie begins, the two stars appear out of character, thanking the audience for seeing it in a theater and urging them to enjoy the communal experience. It’s a quaint idea, if somewhat wasted on a project that hardly seems worth the price of admission.
“Snatched” opens in the U.S. on May 12. It’s rated R. — (CNN)