Mother of all comedy pairings shine in this jungle holiday from hell
AMY Schumer has a transgressive edge that can survive even the clunkiest of comedy vehicles.
Snatched (pun surely intended) is an excellent example.
With Schumer at the wheel of this unroadworthy action caper, you are never entirely sure where it is heading.
And that makes Jonathan Levine’s erratic direction seem intentional.
Snatched’s villains might be cartoonish and predictable, but its self-absorbed leading lady, Emily Middleton, is constantly on the verge of self-inflicted injury — be it physical or emotional.
She doesn’t so much break taboos as blindly trample over them. (The nightclub bathroom scene — in which the door opens to reveal Emily washing her genitalia in the communal sink — trumps even Bridesmaids’ diarrhoea sequence in terms of sheer awkwardness.)
Returning to the big screen after a 14-year absence, Goldie Hawn plays Emily’s overcautious mother Linda.
It’s an inspired piece of casting — Hawn’s ditzy warmth is the perfect counterpoint to Schumer’s catastrophe-on-legs.
When Emily’s boyfriend dumps her on the eve of a planned holiday to Ecuador, the desperate singleton persuades Linda, against her better judgment, to accompany her.
If James (Tom Bateman), the hunky fellow traveller Emily meets on her first night at the bar, seems almost too good to be true, that’s because he is. His invitation to show mother and daughter the real Ecuador turns out to be a set-up — James is in cahoots with a bunch of very bad men who kidnap white tourists in order to extort a ransom from their families back home. (Unfortunately for Emily and Linda, their point person is emotionally-arrested, agoraphobic brother/son Jeffrey (Ike Barinholtz).
Schumer was never going to play a classic victim. Her first attempt at escape results in the accidental killing of the crime king pin’s nephew (with a shovel).
Always reliable, comedians Wanda Sykes and Joan Cusack have a whole lot of fun with their roles as two civicminded fellow tourists.
Snatched is a disappointing follow-up to Schumer’s 2015 breakthrough film, Trainwreck, which she (perhaps wisely) penned herself, but the film is saved by committed performances from its two talented leads.
A Mother’s Day alternative that beats slippers, at least.
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