Woonsocket Call

‘Snatched’ will only borrow your heart

Schumer, Hawn provide a few laughs in jungle

- By ANN HORNADAY The Washington Post Two and one-half stars. Rated R. Contains crude sexual content, brief nudity and coarse language throughout. 100 minutes.

"Snatched," an occasional­ly lazy but fitfully funny and generally pleasing comedy starring Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn, is a good news/bad news propositio­n. But in terms of providing an hour or so of escapist respite, it gets the job done. At a time when gloom, doom and constituti­onal crises dominate the headlines, who couldn't use a few laughs?

Schumer plays Emily Middleton, who as "Snatched" begins is in a boutique looking for something to wear on her upcoming vacation in Ecuador. That scene winds up on a punchline that sets the tone for a film that's less an organic, human-scale story than a series of comic pins carefully set up to be knocked down.

Within minutes of that opening bit, Emily is being dumped by her musician boyfriend (played by "Fresh Off the Boat's" Randall Park) After asking her friends to take his place on the trip and being turned down, she decides to invite her mother Linda (Hawn), whose hobbies include cats, catering to her agoraphobi­c son (Ike Barinholtz) and worrying about everything from a crime spree in distant Delaware to her daughter's marital prospects.

At first, Linda refuses Emily's request to "help me put the 'fun' in 'nonrefunda­ble.'" But she eventually gives in, and soon this mother-daughter odd couple is bickering poolside at a fancy Ecuadoran hotel. Emily meets a handsome stranger (Tom Bateman) who seems too good to be true, and is: After an idyllic date on his motorcycle, he takes both women out for a day trip that ends with them being kidnapped and thrown into a dank cell with bloodstain­ed walls and a scorpion in the corner.

Written by Katie Dippold ("Ghostbuste­rs") and directed by Jonathan Levine ("50/50"), "Snatched" follows a familiar playbook for modern comedies, which depend less on verbal wit and observatio­nal insights than silly jokes, coarse badinage, bawdy physical comedy and at least one cringe-worthy grossout gag. That box gets checked late in the movie, after Emily and Linda have gotten into — and escaped from — any number of life-threatenin­g scrapes. The film's other signature scene occurs earlier, when Emily is caught in a compromisi­ng position in the ladies' room of a bar, preparing herself for what she hopes will be a hot date.

In between those set pieces, Barinholtz's nerdy man-child pesters a long-suffering State Department official (played with on-point exasperati­on by Bashir Salahuddin), and the women cross paths with a swashbuckl­ing Amazon adventurer, portrayed by Christophe­r Meloni channeling his best "Indiana Jones"-era Harrison Ford. (Keep a lookout, too, for Joan Cusack, in an amusing, wordless performanc­e opposite Wanda Sykes as her "platonic friend.")

The portrayal of South American culture in "Snatched" veers from offensive to patronizin­g, when Emily and Linda stumble upon an indigenous village that is used as a convenient backdrop for an anodyne feminist statement. Schumer, whose self-awareness is her secret weapon — and helped make "Trainwreck" the transcende­nt romantic comedy that it was — here wants to have it both ways, daring the audience to reject the crudest cliches the movie indulges, but making sure to soften her own image to make her character more relatable.

Sadly, while Schumer finds her groove, Hawn is wasted in a role ill-suited to the vibrant, bubbly comedian that a generation of fans know and still recognize underneath the tan and motherly neurosis. An early scene, in which Emily leafs through a photo album and we see Hawn in her prime, only underscore­s what a mismatch she is for a role that calls for disapprovi­ng scowls rather than wide grins and daffy giggles.

 ?? Justina Mintz/Twentieth Century Fox ?? From left, Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn in "Snatched."
Justina Mintz/Twentieth Century Fox From left, Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn in "Snatched."

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