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Sunday
May142017

Review: Amy & Goldie get "Snatched"

This review was originally published in Nathaniel's column at Towleroad

You bring stuff into the movie theater with you. I’m not talking about snacks though that’s a frugal and smart thing to do given concession prices and the inherent tastiness of things you aren’t supposed to be eating. My point is this: we come into each movie with our own baggage, nothing existing in a vacuum.

Angry internet types like to call this “bias” when they disagree with anything but it’s just human nature. We all have our predilections. I share this because I walked into SnatchedAmy Schumer’s latest with Goldie Hawn in her first movie in 15 years (!!!) wanting to love it...

Him: “Into…?”
Me: “Actresses of a Certain Age in Comeback Vehicles.”

Some other mitigating factors: I am also a crazy cat lady and Goldie Hawn plays one in the movie, Amy Schumer generally makes my cheeks hurt from laughing, and I still LOL whenever I remember that walk of shame bit from Trainwrecked in high heels on a busted Staten Island sidewalk.

[SIGH] But wanting to love and loving are different things…

As you may have surmised from the double entendre movie title, the plot can be easily summed up. Snatched. Girls! Getting kidnapped! The ladies in question are clueless narcissist Emily (Amy Schumer) and her homebody mom Linda (Goldie Hawn). Linda reluctantly accompanies her daughter to Ecuador because Emily has been freshly dumped by her musician boyfriend (Randall Parks from Fresh Off the Boat, giving the movie its best “pussy” joke of many) and the tickets to the trip are non-refundable.

At the very least, Linda figures, she’ll get quality time with her daughter. Shortly after their arrival the pair are captured by bad guys looking for ransom money in such a roughly edited way you know the movie doesn’t care about the details. (Or even about looking good. It’s one thing to rough up your stars comically and hand them self-deprecating material but to consistently shoot them in such unflattering ways?)

The remainder of the film after the title event is a series of mild comic episodes in which the mother/daughter duo perpetually escape being murdered (We could type “spoiler” but you know this is a comedy not a tragedy, right?). Their best bet at survival might be fellow American travelers, the paranoid Ruth and Barb (Wanda Sykes and Joan Cusack) or mysterious know-it-all rogue Roger (Christopher Meloni). Pro: All the stars in Snatched are naturally funny actors. Con: They’re deployed in such a way that they’re all left to their own devices to amuse us.

You can be ready to laugh but if the jokes don’t come, where do you put your own laugh track?

A perfect example may well be Goldie Hawn’s cat lady intro. It’s more concept than actual joke and not a fresh one. Haha a single woman who is too devoted to her cats. Get it? Aside from one inspired visual gag involving her time in a sculpture class, the joke doesn’t go anywhere and is promptly dropped. There’s no reference to the cats again.

In one scene late in the movie Linda’s agoraphobic live-in adult son (Ike Baronholtz), exits their house with grand ideas about traveling to Ecuador himself to rescue them. He leaves the door wide open despite no return date.

Director Jonathan Levine (Warm Bodies, 50/50) shoots this bit with absurdly broad slo-mo to amp up the comic courage but I couldn’t laugh. Because, excuse me, WHAT ABOUT THE CATS? Who will feed them? Will they run away? Why doesn’t Linda ever ask about them after leaving on vacation? Why doesn’t Linda ask about them when she sees her son? This is not the behavior of a crazy cat lady. I know from crazy cat lady.

Cusack, Schumer, and Sykes to the rescue?

 

There are so many opportunities to tie all the single scene and character jokes together for a fuller comic pleasure and Snatched just keeps missing them all, content to just let the stars ad-lib or find ways of creating jokes where none exist on the page. The best example of this is Ruth’s out-of-nowhere, pointed, and surely ad-libbed reference to herself and Barb as  “platonic friends” . It’s funny only because Wanda Sykes is hilarious and a known Gay and because the screenplay never explains who Ruth and Barb are but they’ll seem like a married couple to every single gay person watching.

If you’re content to LOL whenever funny actors are just being themselves, Snatched will be a swift if forgettable good time. It’s only 90 minutes long — like comedies should be! But if you’re looking for jokes, be warned: Snatched will abandon you as carelessly as it does Linda’s cats, and as lost as Emily in the jungle.

Grade: C
Awards Future: Sadly it won't even be able to dream of Golden Globe Comedy nods, which is too bad really because the 'Goldie Hawn's first movie in 15 years' would have made for a cute bookend with The Banger Sisters, 2002, which did win Goldie a Golden Globe Best Actress Comedy nomination!) 

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Reader Comments (12)

Poor Goldie. She would have been better off staying retired than sullying her reputation by working with the likes of Amy Schumer on this mess of a film.

May 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterM

Schumer (like Tina Fey) will always be best when they write their own material.

May 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMike in Canada

Sully up her reputation, M? She's in a multi-decade relationship with conservative big dummy scum Kurt Russell. The gays and the liberals still love her. She'll be fine. It's Schumer whose career doesn't need anymore bad movies because she's not profitable like McCarthy.

May 14, 2017 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

What's wrong with Kurt Russell? He's awesome in GOTG2.

And I by the way, I'm a staunch left-winger/liberal. But I also believe that movie stars are entitled to their own views. And at least, unlike certain celebs I can think of, he doesn't harangue his audience if they vote a different way to him.

May 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMarco

What a disappointing mess. I agree that Goldie should not have bothered. And while Amy was funny initially, her schtick and range are now so limited as to be tiresome. Jennifer Lawrence would be wise to never work with Amy.

May 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMarie

The last season of Amy Schumer's show was dreadful. I feel like her act is getting stale.

May 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJJ

3rtful,

This is only Schumer's second movie. Her first Trainwreck was a big hit. What are you talking about?

May 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterTr

We all had to get through "Monster In Law" for Jane Fonda to return to work, and now we have "Youth" and "The Newsroom" and "Grace and Frankie".

So maybe this will push Goldie to get busier working, and at some better projects too.

OOOORRRR get those two together!!! That could be something!!!

May 14, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterforever1267

forever1267 -- that's a really good point. Hopefully she enjoyed it enough to want to return to work.

May 14, 2017 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Goldie deserves better. She's a legend who shouldn't have to put up with this shit. Plus, Amy Schumer is not funny. I did unfortunately see her boob and.... I've seen better and that's not funny.

May 14, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterthevoid99

Echoing that forever makes a good point. Goldie seems to really be enjoying herself while doing media for this movie. I'm sure part of it is that she gets a kick out of Amy, but maybe she's realizing that we MISSED her, gosh darn it!

May 15, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterjakey

It wasn't terrible but it wasn't great. Which is what could be said for the last half-dozen movies Goldie Hawn made before the semi-retirement.

May 15, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSawyer

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