For a review of “Snatched,”
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
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.”