MOVIE REVIEW: ‘Snatched’ is a sad stab at comedy

With an influx of awkward timing, immature gags, thinly veiled racism and predictable punchlines, Jonathan Levine's action-comedy misses every shot it takes

| May 10, 2017 | 0 Comments

I can’t say I particularly like Amy Schumer. Sure, I liked “Trainwreck” and find a few of her skits on her television show funny, but I’ve never fully gotten on the Amy Schumer train for more than about a week in 2014. That being said, I don’t actively despise her like many people do. While I think much of her work ethic as a comedian is a bit shady and I tire of the repeated material, I hardly find her to be the reincarnation of satan like everyone thinks she is. On the flip side, I love Goldie Hawn and I was so stoked to finally see her return to acting after a 15 year hiatus. While I can’t say that I was stoked to see her return in an Amy Schumer vehicle, it made stop and think that there must be something about “Snatched” that really spoke volumes if it brought Goldie Hawn out of retirement.

There wasn’t.

Emily Middleton (Amy Schumer) is a 30-something New Yorker without many prospects in her life. After being fired from her retail job, she soon finds herself dumped by her musician boyfriend (Randall Park) and returns home to be consoled by her overbearing mother, Linda (Goldie Hawn). After realizing she is without a job, boyfriend, or friends to accompany her on a trip to Ecuador, Emily invites her mother on the trip to bring out her more adventurous side. While there, Emily meets James (Tom Bateman), an exciting, sexy British man who offer to take Emily and Linda on a day trip to explore Ecuador, but before they know it, they find themselves kidnapped by human traffickers headed by the brutal Morgado (Óscar Jaenada). Together, they must work through their differences to escape and find safety.

Let’s just get right into this: “Snatched” sucks. I can count one occurrence where I actually had a legitimate laugh, which was near the beginning of the film, leaving the remaining 70 minutes ahead of as laugh free as a congressional hearing. The common trope of “kidnapped in an exotic locale” is exploited to the absolute maximum here, making Ecuador and Colombia seem like rapist and kidnapper riddled crime pools with no redeeming qualities. While the motives for the kidnappers revolve around their tourist’s arrogance, they play this as a ridiculous reason, making the character’s complete lack of respect for anything in South America hard to really sympathize with.

While the cliché of Schumer playing a 30-something loser with a habit of inappropriateness and vulgarity was palatable at first, this formula is getting old really quickly. While I can’t directly blame Schumer for this, since she didn’t write the film like she did “Trainwreck,” she doesn’t seem to be going anywhere with the trope, playing the same jokes over and over again expecting them to stay fresh when they tire out before the opening scene is even over. The worst part about this character is that while it seems tailor-made for Schumer, neither the screenplay nor Schumer ever feel on the same page with each other, making the final product feel very awkward and almost uncomfortable to watch.

Meanwhile, Hawn is given an equally insufferable character who doesn’t really riff off of Schumer the way she could have. Comedy isn’t really Hawn’s thing, so I can’t fault her as harshly for not hitting her timing very well, but it seems a bit underwhelming that this is the first film in over 15 years we’ve seen Hawn in, and it’s this awkward. I’m hoping her next film is a dramatic one to balance out the bad taste left by “Snatched.”

Director Jonathan Levine, known for his work on such films as “50/50,” “The Night Before” and “Warm Bodies,” all good movies in their own right, loses his way here. “Snatched” is relatively ugly film, one that feels much more low-budget than a movie like this should. All in all, despite the talented crew behind the camera, the film simply feels cheap and rushed for the sake of getting the film out in time for Mother’s Day. It’s a film without any sort of flash, intrigue, or competence, which really makes me sad as I am a fan of Levine’s.

The screenplay by Katie Dippold is where most of the infractions for “Snatched” come in, simply because the film isn’t particularly funny. I don’t like that “Snatched” is as unfunny as it is because being written by a woman, starring two very famous women, it only seeks to set women back even further than they already unfairly are in the realm of comedy. The jokes can be seen from a mile away; many of the gags are simply gross for the sake of being gross; much of the film’s humor come from very tired tropes that haven’t worked in years and it all simply falls flat by a cast who doesn’t seem to believe in the material as much as anyone in the audience does.

“Snatched” really is a misfire of a comedy on every level. The film doesn’t have a cast willing to “go there” for the sake of the film’s comedy, nor a director willing to push himself to make good material out of the screenplay, and then there’s the screenplay itself, which really comes across as lazy more than anything. It’s wonderful to know that Hawn is back in the game, but even doing a mother-daughter film with her real-life daughter Kate Hudson would’ve been a better choice than this film. If anything, “Snatched” makes me sad more than anything, as it had the spark of something that could’ve been mindlessly enjoyable, but here we just have a film that finds itself to be a lot more funny than it is. You don’t have to like Schumer, or anyone involved with this film in fact, to know that everyone here deserves much better than what we all get from this.

1/5

Photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox

Directed by: Jonathan Levine
Starring: Amy Schumer, Goldie Hawn, Joan Cusack, Ike Barinholtz, Wanda Sykes, Christopher Meloni, Óscar Jaenada.
Runtime: 91 minutes
Rating: R for crude sexual content, brief nudity, and language throughout.

Twentieth Century Fox presents, a Chernin Entertainment/Feigco Entertainment production, a Jonathan Levine film, “Snatched”

Tags:, , , , , , , , ,

Category:Arts and Entertainment, Film

Hunter Heilman Hunter is the current editor-in-chief for The Niner Times. He is a junior Communications major who wishes he were a dog and wants to pet your dog if you have one. Hunter has been a member of the North Carolina Film Critics Association (NCFCA) since August 2015. Please do not hesitate to shoot him an e-mail at editor@ninertimes.com for any questions or concerns and he'll be sure to get back to you ASAP.

Twitter

Comments

Hunter Heilman Hunter is the current editor-in-chief for The Niner Times. He is a junior Communications major who wishes he were a dog and wants to pet your dog if you have one. Hunter has been a member of the North Carolina Film Critics Association (NCFCA) since August 2015. Please do not hesitate to shoot him an e-mail at editor@ninertimes.com for any questions or concerns and he'll be sure to get back to you ASAP.

Twitter