Don’t Let Your Money be “Snatched” Away From you by This Trainwreck of a Film.
DIRECTED BY JONATHAN LEVINE/2017
Cast: Amy Schumer, Goldie Hawn, Tom Bateman, Wanda Sykes, Joan Cusack
If there is a conspiracy in Hollywood, it may be this: to make Amy Schumer the next Melissa McCarthy. McCarthy hit it big with her role in the raunch-comedy Bridesmaids. Following that, she was given many more roles where she threw in her quirky, yet crass, humor, rattling off a series of hits, with some misses. One of the bigger hits was The Heat. This outing paired her with one of America’s sweethearts, Sandra Bullock. Schumer, is seeking to follow a very similar career trajectory it seems. She started off with a surprising hit, and strong comedy called Trainwreck. She now appears in a film written by the writer of The Heat, Katie Dippold, along with being produced by those who produced The Heat. She also has chosen to coax the quintessential American sweetheart out of semi-retirement to appear with her in this latest film. That sweetheart is of course Goldie Hawn, who has made a career out of funny situational comedies. Despite all of this, and unlike McCarthy, Schumer has a real trainwreck on her hands with this latest film, Snatched.
Let me just start off by saying that any hopes that I had of Goldie Hawn bringing her gravitas to the film to curb some of Amy Schumer’s typical crude-for-its-own-sake-not-necessarily-for-real-laughs humor, were dashed early on. This is purely an Amy Schumer film, where Hawn, much like her character, are simply drug along for the ride.
So, while I loved seeing Goldie Hawn again, as it reminded me of some of my favorite films she is in like Seems Like Old Times or Bird on a Wire, I absolutely hated that it had to be under this circumstance.
The very weak plot goes like this: shallow, self-absorbed millennial Emily Middleton (Schumer) is dumped by her boyfriend, an equally shallow musician, just before they embark on an epic vacation to Ecuador. With her boyfriend out of the trip, and none of her other friends wanting to go, Emily is forced to asked her mother Linda (Hawn) to accompany her. Linda is a divorcee who has let a slowly creeping depression to keep her from being the fun, free-spirit she once was. She is now obsessed with cats, and lives with her adult son Jeffrey (Ike Barinholtz-Suicide Squad, Neighbors 2), who is equally odd, never venturing outside, but content to be a large man-child whose mom still cooks and cleans for him. Of course, once they take off on the trip, mayhem ensues….at least we are told.
The mother-daughter relationship aspect of the film never rises above pure surface level clichés. “You’re too demanding”. “You are too selfish” “You used to love me when you were a kid but after that you ignore me” Blah, blah, blah. None of it is compelling. And while there are a couple of funny moments, this is largely a giant waste of time that “snatched” from me the opportunity to do almost anything else.
And to be up front, I loved Trainwreck. That surprised me a lot at the time, but Judd Apatow’s direction was able to utilize the best parts of Schumer’s outrageous comedy and focus it into a heartfelt look at acceptance, the effects of divorce, and what one is willing to do for another when there is true love. Schumer wrote that script, and demonstrated a level of depth that made me interested in her next film project. Instead, she appeared in a terrible comedy special and then does this “paint-by-numbers” buddy comedy with Goldie Hawn that just amounts to vagina jokes, and Latino-based stereotypes, and gives Hawn no moments to shine or use her trademark comedy to strengthen the story.
It isn’t until the start of the credits where we see any spunk from Hawn. Maybe it was because she was uninspired through all of this. I can only think that she wants to help Schumer for some reason, because this wasn’t the film to come back for. Goldie Hawn does not belong in a raunchy comedy. I can only think that this was comedy charity.
In addition to the troublesome, and boring, stereotypes and recycled comedy, Snatched also pokes fun at the idea of human trafficking. While the trailer shows that they are clearly kidnapped and on the run, a tired and recycled plot line in and of itself, but the way it all goes down is typical of what happens in many cases of human trafficking. Using that for laughs doesn’t come off as edgy, boundary-pushing, etc. Here its just unfunny, and comes off as formulaic. You’ll see exactly where this film is going long before it gets there. That can be all right, if at least, the cast, narrative, etc. are entertaining. But here, there is none of that.
The only bright spot throughout this terrible “comedy” is Wanda Sykes, Joan Cusack, and Bashir Salahuddin. Wanda Sykes and Joan Cusack play platonic companions who meet Emily and Linda at the Ecuadorian resort, and whom also may or may not have military training. They steal every scene they are in. In a film like this, it’s hard not to. Bashir Salahuddin plays a perfect disgruntled U.S. State Department employee. His interactions with Ike Barinholtz has some funny moments as well.
So, while I loved seeing Goldie Hawn again, as it reminded me of some of my favorite films she is in, like Seems Like Old Times or Bird on a Wire, I absolutely hated that it had to be under this circumstance. Amy Schumer is a pretty known commodity at this point. Only die-hard Schumer fans will be able to stomach this outing. Writer Katie Dippold (Ghostbusters reboot) continues to trade in lackluster scripts, which is probably the biggest issue here, as both Schumer and Hawn have demonstrated the ability to do better work (although Schumer might have just had a great debut as she hasn’t shown anything since). Director Jonathan Levine, who turned out the very good 50/50 and Warm Bodies, seems to be going through the motions here. But if everyone was convinced that Schumer’s career was going to mimic Melissa McCarthy’s then I can see why they thought they could get away with it, and just collect the inevitable paycheck. Unfortunately, Schumer hasn’t proven that she will enjoy that kind of success at the box office, and if this is an indication of future output, she might find that her chances of breakout success just got “snatched”….by the film Snatched.