For a re­view of “Snatched,”

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The promis­ing young writer Katie Dip­pold, who wrote “The Heat” and “Ghost­busters,” strikes out with her third fea­ture, “Snatched.”

This mother- daugh­ter kid­nap­ping com­edy star­ring Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn is a huge dis­ap­point­ment, and for Schumer, this is a low mo­ment of a ca­reer that’s been peak­ing. As Emily, Schumer plays her char­ac­ter­is­tic prob­lem­atic white girl char­ac­ter, a self­ish, selfie-tak­ing nar­cis­sist. But there’s no sharp satire to punc­ture that im­age, as some of the best work from her Com­edy Cen­tral show “In­side Amy Schumer” has man­aged to pull off.

In­stead, “Snatched” feels like a rough sketch of a movie rather than a fleshed- out, joke- dense script. Per­haps it’s a bad match of writer and star, with Schumer and Dip­pold work­ing to­gether for the first time.

The story fol­lows Emily, in the wake of a bad breakup, as she brings her mom, Linda, on a non­re­fund­able va­ca­tion to Ecuador, for lack of a bet­ter op­tion ( all of her friends seem to hate her).

“Put the fun back in ‘ non­re­fund­able,’” she whines to Linda, and one can’t help but won­der how an au­di­ence mem­ber might want to do the same.

On their sec­ond day in Ecuador, Emily man­ages to get her­self and her­mom kid­napped while try­ing to im­press an at­trac­tive Brit, James ( Tom Bate­man). The two hap­less blondes set off on an un­likely jour­ney while try­ing to es­cape their cap­tors, and along the way, learn a lit­tle some­thing about them­selves. The story has about as much sus­pense as it does laughs, which is to say: not much at all.

The script can’t de­cide whether we’re sup­posed to like Emily or hate her — she’s a bad per­son who treats her loved ones poorly, and leans on her per­ceived stupidity and naivete to make her way in the world. The film even­tu­ally aban­dons that thread, steer­ing into girl- power ter­ri­tory and re­solv­ing the story with the mes­sage that women can rely on them­selves, be­cause men are usu­ally ei­ther use­less or evil.

That wa­ver­ing is an is­sue with other as­pects of the com­edy, too; there’s one gross- out scene that feels out of place and cut too short to truly have im­pact. Di­rected by Jonathan Levine, “Snatched” lacks en­ergy and punch. Scenes lag and go on way too long, the scene tran­si­tions are awk­ward and jar­ring. The en­tire thing feels like an out­line of a movie, half- baked ideas that are never fully- formed.

From the premise, it seems as if “Snatched” might end up hor­ri­bly racist. It does rely heav­ily on some re­ally stale Latino stereo­types, and trots out a truly aw­ful joke about what the word “wel­come” might sound like with an ac­cent. This is rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the com­edy in this film, which will make you say, “huh,” in recog­ni­tion, rather than ac­tu­ally, you know, laugh.

More of­ten than not, the movie paints white women in a bad light — as shal­low, man- ob­sessed dolts who only care about per­form­ing their lives for so­cial me­dia. What’s of­fen­sive about “Snatched” is the dread­fully tired con­ceit it’s based on, that these women are self- ob­sessed crea­tures who be­lieve them­selves to be in con­stant dan­ger of kid­nap­ping, rape or hu­man traf­fick­ing from for­eign­ers. There’s no way to freshen up a con­cept that feels about a cen­tury old, even with a cheap sheen of fe­male em­pow­er­ment.

“Snatched,” a 20th Cen­tury Fox re­lease, is rated R for crude sex­ual con­tent, brief nu­dity and lan­guage through­out. Run­ning time: 91 min­utes. ½

“King Arthur”

It’s bold, it’s dar­ing, it’s a black metal acid trip. It will most likely give you mo­tion sick­ness. It’s Guy Ritchie’s take on the King Arthur story, so nat­u­rally, this King Arthur ( Char­lie Hun­nam) is re­ally into bare- knuckle box­ing, ( see Ritchie’s “Sher­lock Holmes” and “Snatch”).

“King Arthur: Leg­end of the Sword” is un­like any other me­dieval war­fare and sor­cery movie ever com­mit­ted to film, but that doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily mean it’s good. This King Arthur su­per­hero ori­gin story is strange, in­vig­o­rat­ing, of­ten out­right bad, con­fus­ing, and to­tally wild.

In this ver­sion of the well­known story ( sword, stone, wiz­ards, etc.), the film isn’t so much writ­ten as it is edited within an inch of its life. Most peo­ple as­sume that movies can’t tell an ef­fect­ing story with rapidly edited mon­tages alone, butwhat “King Arthur: The Leg­end of the Sword” pre­sup­poses is— maybe it can? It can’t, but it’s anoble ef­fort.

In the first half, Ritchie and editor James Herbert man­age to nail a del­i­cate bal­ance in the ag­gres­sive edit. The film flashes for­ward, back, side­ways and through time, slash­ing through hy­po­thet­i­cals, plans, night­mares, mem­o­ries and tall tales. By the thinnest thread, they main­tain char­ac­ter, tone, place and time. But the sec­ond half of the film de­volves into a fetid stew of mud­dled time­lines and mushy de­tails.

About two- thirds of the way through, at about the point where Ritchie has at­tached cam­eras to his ac­tors’ shoul­ders so the au­di­ence can jog along, look­ing at the un­der­side of some­one’s chin as they run and jump and hur­tle through space, it all be­comes a bit ex­haust­ing and dis­ori­ent­ing. Ritchie, Herbert and the writ­ers don’t es­tab­lish char­ac­ter well enough in the early part of the film, but they at­tempt to achieve touch­ing char­ac­ter mo­ments in the sec­ond half, which is dif­fi­cult when we barely have a grasp on each char­ac­ter’s name, who they are, and what they’re do­ing.

That’s a shame for the story since it re­volves around the themes of friend­ship and male com­pan­ion­ship. With no Guin­e­vere or love tri­an­gle, Arthur is only motivated by a de­sire to pro­tect his friends and loved ones, which dis­tin­guishes him from his evil un­cle, King Vor­tigern ( Jude Law), who has no prob­lem slash­ing rel­a­tives down one by one if it makes him more pow­er­ful. That fo­cus on the re­la­tion­ships be­tween men is one of Ritchie’s hall­marks.

As for the women in the film, we’ve got a horde of nur­tur­ing sex work­ers, an un­named Mage ( Astrid Bergès- Fris­bey), and var­i­ous, in­ter­change able wives, mothers, daugh­ters, sis­ters.

What is clear is Ritchie’s de­sire to retell a leg­end of English roy­alty through his adopted per­spec­tive on the world, to show a Lon­don (“Lon­dinium” in the film) pep­pered with Cock­ney ac­cented con men, thieves, whores and low- lives, no­mat­ter the cen­tury. He makes Arthur, a king of royal blood, into a com­moner by the cir­cum­stances of his up­bring­ing. In “Sher­lock Holmes” and now “King Arthur,” Ritchie seeks to dis­rupt and rein­ter­pret the­myths of aris­to­cratic English he­roes into schem­ing, wheedling, streets­mart tough guys.

Un­for­tu­nately, he doesn’t stick the land­ing on “King Arthur: Leg­end of the Sword.” Any­thing in­no­va­tive de­scends into a com­puter gen­er­ated mon­strous me lee. Nev­er­the­less, the larger is­sue re­mains as to why this is the cur­rent it­er­a­tion of Arthur — seem­ingly, it’s just be­cause Ritchie thinks it’s cool.

“King Arthur: Leg­end Of The Sword,” a Warner Bros. Pic­tures re­lease, is rated PG- 13 for se­quences of vi­o­lence and ac­tion, some sug­ges­tive con­tent and brief strong lan­guage. Run­ning time: 126min­utes.


Jude Law stars in the Warner Bros. Pic­tures re­lease “King Arthur: Leg­end of the Sword.”

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