“Snatched” is a modern day mother-daughter bonding flick, that sees Emily (Amy Schumer) and mother Linda Middleton (Goldie Hawn) travel to Ecuador, after Emily gets dumped by her boyfriend on the eve of the vaycay, who goes on a quest for pussy (his words, not mine). Emily is the poster girl for Generation Y, flaunting her life on social media and getting more upset about losing her phone than being trapped in a third world jail cell. Goldie Hawn perfectly depicts the older divorcee who’d rather spend her days reading her book than indulging in off-the-beaten track adventures, or rather be at home with her menagerie of cats.
The trip goes awry when the girls get caught up in a kidnapping scheme, and have to try and escape with the help of anyone they can find – which manifests in the form of a wannabe Indiana Jones, the disinterested US Government and a couple of intense tourists. Their fraught attempts at locating the US embassy for help becomes even more comical and complicated when their fate rests in the hands of co-dependent agoraphobic son/brother Jeffrey (Ike Barinholtz). It’s the intricate care taken in filling each position on the film – be it the main actors, writer, production designer, or the guy playing the ‘Romancing the Stone’ riffed hero (former “Law & Order” fave Chris Meloni) – that keeps Snatched not only afloat but splashing about nicely.
While the premise sounds as old as pancakes in a corner shop bain-marie, the laughs are plenty and Schumer’s cynical sense of humour works very well in this movie. Perhaps because of writer Katie Dippold’s fine attention to making the gags play as strong as they can and giving everyone in the cast – right down to bit players like Wanda Sykes and Joan Cusack – not only something to do, but something great to do. It’s not a case of polishing a turd, it’s more a case of polishing something that could’ve easily been a turd.. say if Happy Madison had gotten their hands on the concept earlier.
In terms of relatability, the characters are hard to connect with. While there is familiarity on a purely surface level, Schumer’s gullibility and Hawn’s enabling for both her children just leaves you shaking your head. However “Snatched” isn’t here to deliver a deep-thinking, complex story line, it’s purely meant for entertainment and certainly delivers in that area. The mother-daughter reconnecting concept comes just in time for Mother’s Day, and is perhaps the only part of the film that aims to warm the heart of the viewer. Unfortunately it falls just a tad short, as again the relatability of a kidnapping bringing a family together isn’t going to get any family cuddles going anytime soon.
Overall, “Snatched” is a hybrid of a zany ’80s comedy, the likes of which Shelley Long, Wilder & Pryor or Bette Midler might have done, with the kind of brilliantly staged, honest big belly laughs that femme flagflyer Paul Feig (producing this one), who knows how to get the most out of funny women, does best. It’s instantly forgettable but if a comedy can near have you cracking ribs in at least three moments, it’s already ahead of most other laffers of a similar ilk.