Mother’s Day would not be complete without a new wide release hoping to cash in on our love for our moms, and in 2017 that honor goes to Snatched, a surprisingly original comedy starring Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn. The film follows a well tread formula for comedic mischief abroad that rarely deviates from what you might expect, but a slew of wonderful performances from the leads and numerous supporting players makes this trip one worth taking.
Schumer stars as Emily, a newly single woman stuck with two non-refundable tickets to Ecuador and not a friend in the world who wants to join her. After discovering a photo album that reminds her of a time when her mother, Linda (Goldie Hawn) was fun, Emily insists the two of them go on the journey together. Their time together is filled with the kind of tiny arguments all adult children have with their parents, especially when traveling together, but things then take a unique turn when the pair are kidnapped and held for ransom.
The pairing of Schumer and Hawn works better on paper than it does on screen. Their an uneven comedic duo if there ever was one, with their individual approaches to humor clashing more often than they compliment one another. Where Hawn can turn a phrase like no other, quietly setting into motion big laughs, Schumer’s approach to on screen comedy plays like a bull in a china shop. She spurts offensive comments and tongue-in-cheek commentary on every passing moment as if she is simultaneously living it and observing it. Some stuff works, but most feels obscene for the sake of being obscene, and after a few minutes that schtick gets old.
It also doesn’t help that the script from Katie Dippold fails to utilize the film’s exotic setting or potentially thrilling plot. The movie works as well as it does because of the sheer force of will its two leads and their supporting player put into their time on screen. There is not a single moment of tension, nor does any dramatic beat feel earned. Even the humor is scattershot. Things happens around these characters constantly, but we never fear for their well being. It’s just another movie where all non-Americans are maybe bad guys simply because they are not Americans, and that’s funny because….Actually, I’m still not sure why that is supposed to be funny.
The big saving grace, which I have referenced previously in this review, is the numerous supporting players that lend big laughs to Snatched. The most notable pair is Wanda Sykes and Joan Cusack, who play a pair of platonic friends on vacation who cross paths with Schumer and Hawn. Cusack’s character is a former special ops soldier who cut out her tongue to diminish any risk of being made to talk by our nation’s enemies, while Sykes is a slightly more unhinged version of the character she’s portrayed throughout her comedic career. Also impressive is an appearance from Christopher Meloni, who plays a helpful stranger in an all too short role.
Overall, Snatched is harmless fun that more or less manages to entertain from beginning to end. It’s nothing to write home about and it certainly won’t convert any non-believers to the Schumer hype train, but as far as Mother’s Day weekend releases go it could have been a lot worse. I’d take this over last year’s Mother’s Day or 2015’s Hot Pursuit any day. And if nothing else – it’s nice to have Goldie Hawn back.