SNATCHED (R13, 90 MINS), DIRECTED BY JONATHAN LEVINE,
It should have been comedy gold. You’ve got the loveable comedy queen, Goldie Hawn, finally back on the big screen after a 15-year hiatus. You’ve got Amy Schumer, the current bad girl of comedy, riding a high since her 2015 smash hit Trainwreck. You’ve even got a stellar supporting cast that includes Wanda Sykes, Ike Barinholtz and (a mute, but still funny) Joan Cusack.
Yet while Snatched may be many things, comedy gold isn’t one of them.
The film starts out promising enough. Schumer is in her element as the self-absorbed, selfie-taking party girl Emily, who gets fired from her retail job, then dumped by her muso boyfriend.
Stuck with two tickets to Ecuador and unable to persuade any of her friends to join her, Emily hits up her mum, Linda (Hawn), to help her ‘‘put the fun in non-refundable’’.
Linda, a divorced, anxietyridden cat lady, takes a bit of convincing: ‘‘Everybody knows you need two years to plan a vacation.’’
Soon they’re sipping drinks by the pool and arguing over sunblock – until a hunky traveller (Tom Bateman) leads Emily astray. Linda’s worst fear becomes a reality as the motherdaughter duo gets kidnapped by local baddies (I’m not even going to touch on the South American stereotypes) and ends up on a bumbling escape run through the jungle.
That’s when things start to go downhill.
Instead of a sharp buddy comedy with relatable motherdaughter banter and bickering, we’re now stuck in the Amazon with slapstick set-pieces and tired cliches.
Even the perfect pairing of Hawn and Schumer can’t save the lazy script, which is a surprise coming from screenwriter Katie Dippold, who also wrote the fun buddy comedy Heat and last year’s Ghostbusters remake. Odd pacing from director Jonathan Levine ( Warm Bodies, 50/50) and poor editing doesn’t help either.
Perhaps the film’s biggest crime though is confining the vibrant, bubbly Hawn to the ‘‘straight-man’’ role, which leaves most of the laughs up to Schumer, who, as usual, walks a very fine line between crude and clever.
To be fair, there are plenty of laughs here, as well as an easy odd-couple chemistry between Hawn and Schumer. And their combined star power may well be enough for fans to overlook the film’s flaws. It’s just a shame Snatched never really gives those stars a chance to shine. – Christina Kuntz