I did have great fun watching "Trainwreck" starring Amy Schumer, but a lot of that was due to the spectacular star-turn by LeBron James, who proved he has stellar comedic timing. "Snatched", however, is a much different story.
In case you've missed the thousands of times the trailer has been on TV, "Snatched" has brought Goldie Hawn out of a 15-year hiatus to appear as Linda Middleton, Amy Schumer's mother. Schumer's character is Emily, a self-absorbed, unpleasant woman who has just been dumped by her even more annoying boyfriend, Michael (Randall Park).
The problem Emily now faces is she booked a non-refundable vacation for two to Ecuador and none of her friends want to accompany her. After a great deal of pleading, whining and familial blackmail, she convinces Linda to go, against her better judgment. Of course, this all culminates in the kidnapping of Emily and Linda for a hefty ransom.
"Snatched" is written by Katie Dippold, who was one of 30 writers for "Parks and Recreation", among other TV shows and movies. Methinks Schumer should stick to creating her own scripts, like "Trainwreck", because Dippold has done Schumer no favors here. Most of the dialogue is pedestrian and decidedly NOT amusing. And "Snatched" is rife with unsavory bathroom references and blatant attempts at sexual humor.
Dippold's screenplay works well when focusing on sight gags. The one featuring Christopher Meloni's character, Roger Simmons, swinging through the Amazon, a la Tarzan, is clever and hilarious. Unfortunately, Wanda Sykes and Joan Cusack are introduced early on as Ruth and Barb, but then they disappear for a good chunk of the film.
Barb is retired Special Ops, a feature one would expect to be exploited during the rescue of Emily and Linda. Instead these two accomplished actors and their talents are wasted. "Snatched" would have benefited from more of these two goofballs.
Ike Barinholtz ("The Mindy Project", 2012) is featured as Emily's agoraphobic brother, Jeffrey, who still lives with Linda, whom he calls "Ma-Ma". Too many of his lines are throwaways, again a shame, because Barinholtz would have had a field day with a better-developed role. Even as lame as Jeffrey is --- Barinholtz does an exemplary job with the lackluster material.
I find I'm getting a little tired of Schumer's shtick. And don't even get me started on Hawn. If she has any more injections in her face, it may burst. She was so adorable when she was younger, especially in "Foul Play" (1978) and "Private Benjamin" (1980), her best. After 15 years, maybe I was expecting too much, but if this is as good as it gets for Hawn, maybe she should have stayed retired.
Perhaps it's the tiresome, humorless writing, but "Snatched" is a total disappointment. Schumer may have to reevaluate her future endeavors.
Opinion: Don't Bother!
Without a few decidedly funny sight gags, "Snatched", Amy Schumer's new comedy, would be hard-pressed to hold an audience's attention. Writer Katie Dippold ("Parks and Recreation", "Ghostbusters") dips into the bathroom humor pool far too often.
Likely borrowing from our non-illustrious president, Dippold uses the "pu**y" line as a reason for Emily Middleton's (Schumer) boyfriend (played by Randall Park) to break up with her. And just as they were about to vacation together in Ecuador.
This sets the stage for Emily to (1) invite everyone she can think of to join her --- none do, (2) ask her mother, Linda (Goldie Hawn) as a last resort --- and she does, after some major cajoling. So it's off to Ecuador where they endure the rigors of the Amazon jungle after being kidnapped.
Mom and daughter now have a chance to reconnect, of course --- pretty boring stuff, but thanks to those aforementioned sight gags, not all is lost. One of the funniest scenes lasts mere seconds on screen, but it has Joan Cusack as Barb scaling a high fence like a giant chimpanzee. Earlier, the ever-cautious Linda gives Emily an anti-rapist device which is really a dog whistle. Emily tests it out and a ferocious dog appears in an instant at their car window --- I laughed out loud.
"Snatched" falls short of being a flat-out comic effort. Despite the varied attempts at humor, we're more involved with the girls escaping the clutches of some evil dudes, led by Morgado (Oscar Jaenada) as the head abductor. He is one scary guy, but Emily inadvertently manages to exact some severe pain on him, mostly emotional, with the help of a shovel and a spear gun.
Schumer is just acting as Schumer, that is, what we've come to expect from her. She's the center of the potty humor, and in one scene reveals a breast that escaped from her dress --- not funny. But I thought Hawn does a decent job without being over the top, considering their dire situation, starting in a filthy jail in South America.
Emily has an agoraphobic brother, Jeffrey (Ike Barinholtz), whose rare affliction is vastly underutilized. He's a funny guy whose character could have been hysterical with better writing. British actor Tom Bateman plays James, a handsome barfly who comes on to Emily on her first day at the Ecuadorian resort. It's obvious James is up to something, but Bateman plays him flawlessly.
There's not much to recommend in "Snatched". Schumer has a ways to go to compare with a physical comedienne along the lines of a Melissa McCarthy, for example. She certainly has the potential.
Opinion: Mild Wait for DVD