Updated: Feb 4, 2020
Snatched is similar to many recent comedies: The plot is thin, most of the characters are not particularly well developed and there is some forced emotion in the last act that doesn’t quite work. But what matters the most with a comedy is whether or not it is funny. The answer here is an unenthusiastic yes.
There are individual moments and lines that work. But the screenplay, by Katie Dippold (who also wrote 2016”s Ghostbusters reboot), never really gives the actors enough to work with so they can build some comic momentum. The result is a film that is funny here and there, but not consistently enough to be memorable.
There is only one scene that really doesn’t work. It involves a chance meeting in the jungle with a doctor who diagnoses Schumer’s character with a tapeworm and attempts to remove it. It’s more gross than funny and does not even have a payoff. It just kind of ends and the film forgets about it to move on to the next sequence. Fortunately, most of the scenes in the film contain at least a laugh or two.
Amy Schumer, Ike Barinholtz, Wanda Sykes, a silent Joan Cusack and Christopher Meloni are given just enough good material to create some legitimately amusing moments. Unfortunately, the comedic skill of Goldie Hawn, making her first film appearance in fifteen years, is largely untapped here.
She plays a cat-loving shut-in who lives with her agoraphobic adult son (a strange, but mostly enjoyable Barinholtz). Schumer is her irresponsibly adventurous daughter who convinces her mother to join her on a trip to Ecuador after her boyfriend (Randall Park, around for one funny scene) breaks up with her. Once in Ecuador, despite Hawn’s character’s reservations, they wander away from their resort with a handsome Brit (Tom Bateman) and are subsequently kidnapped.
Schumer gets in some good lines (many of them throwaways), while Hawn is stuck with nagging Mom clichés in the early scenes before switching to boring, brave straight-woman once the plot kicks in.
However, the film does have Schumer’s likable, self-deprecating humor to carry it. The strange relationship between Barinholtz and an annoyed state department official (Bashir Salahuddin) also brings several laughs in the film’s second half.
In the end, Snatched has just enough laughs for a mild recommendation. There’s enough moments of humor (relatively tame in nature for an R-rated comedy) and it doesn’t overstay its welcome (84 minutes before the end credits). It’s an amusing diversion but, with the cost of going to a movie theater these days, you may be better served saving it for a relaxing night at home instead.
3 out of 5
Amy Schumer as Emily Middleton
Goldie Hawn as Linda Middleton
Ike Barinholtz as Jeffrey Middleton
Wanda Sykes as Ruth
Joan Cusack as Barb
Tom Bateman as James
Christopher Meloni as Roger Simmons
Directed by Jonathan Levine
Written by Katie Dippold