** (out of four)
DIRECTED BY Jonathan Levine
STARS Amy Schumer, Goldie Hawn
- Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn in Snatched (Photo: Fox)
Amy Schumer became an instant movie star with Trainwreck, the 2015 summer surprise that grossed $110 million at the U.S. box office and earned the comedienne a Best Actress Golden Globe nomination. It would be tempting to state that Snatched, Schumer’s follow-up flick, is a train wreck of a different kind, but that might be a tad too harsh. Ultimately, though, here’s another grasping summertime slog that promisingly pairs two popular actresses and then puts them through nonsensical material.
While Snatched is (thankfully) more tolerable than the recent summer stinkers Tammy (Melissa McCarthy and Susan Sarandon) and Hot Pursuit (Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara), it never really gets out of neutral. The film casts Schumer as Emily Middleton, a slacker who gets dumped by her boyfriend (Randall Park) right as they’re about to embark on a trip to Ecuador. Because it’s a nonrefundable vacation package, Emily is forced to find somebody else to accompany her – after all her friends turn her down, she decides to take her stick-in-the-mud mom Linda (Goldie Hawn).
Mother and daughter are greeted at their hotel by whale cum (a clever gag), but while Linda wants to spend the entire trip reading her book safely by the pool, Emily yearns for something more exciting. She meets a hunky guy (Tom Bateman) at the hotel bar, and he takes both Emily and her mom on a jaunt through the real Ecuador – it proves to be disastrous for the women, as they’re kidnapped by local ruffians and held for ransom.
Schumer throws herself into her role – here’s a performer who’s admirably not afraid to look ridiculous if the part calls for it – but the focus on Emily turns this into a one-woman show at the expense of her Oscar-winning co-star. Hawn hasn’t appeared in a film since 2002’s The Banger Sisters, but anyone anticipating a comeback won’t find it here. The actress is given precious little to do besides alternating between I-love-you and I-told-you-so modes, and it’s difficult to ascertain if she still possesses her revered comedic prowess since her part is so threadbare. Then again, the flatness of her character is duplicated in most other areas of Snatched, which offers a few offhand chuckles but mostly feels like a journey to nowhere.