Snatched (2017) Review


For many, the idea of taking their Mum on holiday with them would be traumatic enough but “Snatched”, an aimlessly rowdy comedy, takes that nightmare scenario one step further.

After quitting her job and being dumped by her boyfriend, Emily (Amy Schumer) is left holding the tickets to a non-refundable paid vacation in Ecuador. Left with no alternative, Emily browbeats her mother (Goldie Hawn) into coming with her. But Emily’s impetuous and oblivious nature quickly gets them into trouble as they are kidnapped for ransom. But that’s just the beginning of their problems.

This mismatched buddy comedy featuring a mother and daughter on the vacation from hell is the kind of comedy they used to do so effortlessly in the eighties but for some reason, the knack escapes present-day Hollywood. Not that it stops them from trying. This movie is trying, in both senses of the word. There’s a palpable desperation to create something both funny and iconic but it’s just too unfocused and freewheeling for its own good. Goldie Hawn, making a return to the big screen after 15 years, proves she still has the comic timing to give as good as she gets but unfortunately what she’s getting isn’t all that great. Amy Schumer seems to have become a somewhat divisive figure of late and the jury’s still very much out on whether she has what it takes to be a movie star. Comfortable in sketch comedy and stand-up, there’s something about longer-form storytelling which fails to gel with her freewheelingly frank and raunchy in-your-face performance style. Where it worked in “Trainwreck”, it doesn’t really work here and you end up feeling all the sympathy for her poor, put-upon mother. Added into the mix is a weirdly off-putting and sneery performance by Ike Barinholtz as Emily geeky agoraphobic brother and baffling appearances from Wanda Sykes and Joan Cusack in a sub-plot which promises great things but ultimately goes nowhere.

The adventurous plot of escaping the kidnappers and surviving in the jungles of South America provides at least a few laughs but they are too few and too far between. For every inspired joke about the reliability of jungle vines, there’s a misjudged (literal) gag about a tapeworm. Ultimately, all these disparate ingredients combine with all the success of a curdled Piña colada. I love Goldie Hawn to bits and I’ve got a lot of time for Amy Schumer but this is one comedy vehicle that you hope ends up in the same place as Thelma & Louise’s Ford Thunderbird.

Score 4