If Girls Trip didn’t satisfy your craving for R-rated comedies about women behaving badly, this month there’s also Snatched. Providing the laughter here is the big name duo of Amy “love-her-or-hate-her” Schumer and Goldie Hawn, who’s been sadly lesser seen in recent years. Schumer-Hawn should be a winning combination in theory – and it is in practice – but the ladies’ double dose of goofy blonde charm doesn’t make up for a plot that builds to a gallop before going lame a full 30 minutes before the movie’s end.
Snatched released back in May in the United States, to coincide with Mother’s Day. South Africans have had much longer to wait, probably because Snatched didn’t exactly set the North American box office alight. Still, here are the basics for anyone contemplating a watch: Emily Middleton (Schumer) is a flaky, Instagram-obsessed woman who loses her job and is dumped by her boyfriend just before a non-refundable holiday to Ecuador. With no other options, she invites her mom Linda (Hawn), a risk-adverse divorcee to take her ex’s spot. It’s not an ideal arrangement, but the trip seems to be going alright. That is until the women are kidnapped by a local crime lord. Mother and daughter must escape and navigate the jungle to reach the nearest US Consulate.
Snatched is pretty enjoyable to begin with. The errors and embarrassments mount up Hangover-style, resulting in a good number of chuckles. Meanwhile, the mother-daughter dynamic between Schumer and Hawn rings true. So much so, in fact, that you start to resent intrusions by supporting actors Wanda Sykes, Joan Cusack and Ike Barinholtz, as they detract from the shenanigans of the Middleton ladies. South American kidnapping is not a savoury, politically correct premise for a comic entertainment, but it works well enough in Snatched.
The problem is that at a certain point the movie hits a brick wall. Schumer’s character collapses in the jungle, and when she wakes, for a while you begin to wonder if she’s actually dreaming. The film feels untethered from the reality it’s created, and Snatched becomes a series of disjointed set pieces barely stitched together. The story progresses in clumsy jumps. At the same time, the “serious stuff” – all the resentment that has been building between Emily and Linda – is dumped on the audience with subtlety of a two-tonne weight. You know you’re about to get flattened when the strings soar on cue to signal a supposedly meaningful emotional moment.
Worst of all, as Snatched lumbers to its conclusion, it doesn’t really bother to resolve its character arcs in any satisfying way. While the supporting players receive even more unwanted screen time, Hawn, criminally, is denied Linda’s resolution. This when the seasoned funny woman is absolutely one of the best things about the film; relaxed and natural in her comic delivery. Schumer remains a divisive presence, for the record.
Snatched is definitely stronger in its first half. As the credits roll, you feel that it could have been far more of a riotous, memorable time. It’s rare these days to complain that a comedy is too short, but at a little over 90 minutes, Snatched feels too lean and abrupt – and therefore is a bit disappointing. There are far worse things to sit through, but you can safely save your bucks right now. Skip the cinema visit and catch Snatched in several months’ time when it inevitably ends up as MNET’s Sunday night movie.
Last Updated: August 23, 2017