Snatched is a comedy with unparalleled talent across the board. From 50/50, to Warm Bodies, to The Night Before, Jonathan Levine has directed one inventive comedy after another. Screenwriter Katie Dippold not only penned The Heat, but several episodes of Parks and Recreation as well. Between Bridesmaids and Spy, almost everything producer Paul Feig touches is comedic gold. As for the cast, Amy Schumer is fresh off Trainwreck, one of the funniest movies of the 21st century. The film even nabbed Goldie Hawn, an Oscar-winning comedy legend returning to film after over a decade.
With a cast and crew like this, you might go into Snatched expecting a modern classic. The film certainly has its hilarious moments and we occasionally see glimpses of a comedy that could reach the same heights as something along the lines of Tropic Thunder. Other times, it feels like the filmmakers could have taken the jokes an extra step further. More often than not, though, they seem content settling for a good chuckle rather than a belly laugh. With that said, the movie at least has more effort thrown into it than a buddy comedy like Hot Pursuit.
Schumer plays Emily Middleton, a self-absorbed thirty-something-year-old that can’t hold onto a job, but will still squander all her money on a trip to South America. After getting dumped by her boyfriend, Emily has one extra ticket. She ultimately decides to take her overbearing, cat lady mother, Linda (Hawn). While it’s smooth sailing at first, things take a turn for the worse when Emily places her trust in the wrong man. A gang of ruthless thugs kidnaps both Emily and Linda. Since the American government is useless, the mother and daughter must set out on a daring adventure across the continent.
This is a humorous premise that leads to plenty of comedic possibilities, although some of those possibilities aren’t fully explored. For example, there’s one scene where Emily gets a tapeworm pulled out of her mouth. That’s a potentially hysterical setup and it does score a few laughs. However, the scene just kind of abruptly ends without much of a payoff. That’s how many moments here play out. They always start off strong, but don’t always know where to go.
This is a humorous premise that leads to plenty of comedic possibilities, although some of those possibilities aren’t fully explored.
The same can be said about the supporting cast. Christopher Meloni is a riot as Roger Simmons, who looks like Indiana Jones on the surface, but is actually a run-of-the-mill tourist. Wanda Sykes and Joan Cusack steal more than a couple scenes as Ruth and Barb, two close friends/possible lovers. Ike Barinholtz is especially memorable as Emily’s brother, a nerdy momma’s boy determined to bring his family home. As fun as these side characters are, they disappear for large chunks of time, leaving the audience wanting more.
As fun as these side characters are, they disappear for large chunks of time, leaving the audience wanting more.
To be fair, however, they aren’t the focus of the movie. Snatched is all about the mother/daughter dynamic between our leads and this is where the film finds redemption. Schumer and Hawn make for a lovable pair and their onscreen relationship comes off as 100% genuine. Even if the film could’ve dug a lot deeper, their chemistry makes up for much of its shortcomings. It might not be the mother of all comedies, but as far as mixed bags go, it’s worth picking through the stale bits to get to the fresh parts.