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Review: “Snatched”

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Say what you want about Amy Schumer, she knows her style of comedy and she does it well. She had a certified hit on her hands not long ago translating that humor to the big screen with “Trainwreck” and she’s at it again with the action comedy “Snatched”, fittingly released in time for Mother’s Day. While it may not be the greatest comedy you’ll ever see, “Snatched” is a solid hit full of fun action, effective one liners, and unapologetic gross out and sex-based humor that helps it shine well above the mediocrity of its paper-thin story.

“Snatched” sees Schumer team up with the legendary Goldie Hawn, in her first role since 2002, as mother-daughter pair Emily and Linda Middleton, one foul-mouthed “loser” with no life direction and the other a scarred, borderline agoraphobe who barely leaves her home. When Emily finds herself single and stuck with non-refundable tickets to a getaway in Ecuador she invites her mother along to try and rekindle the love for life she had in her youth. While in Ecuador, Emily meets a dashing man who brings the two ladies on an adventure-turned-nightmare when they are kidnapped for ransom and have to escape to the US embassy, trudging through the Amazon and many comedic situations along with way with their kidnappers in tow. Ike Barinholtz, Joan Cusack, Wanda Sykes, Christopher Meloni, and Oscar Jaenada make up the rest of the starring cast as the adventure unfolds.

It needs to be said that “Snatched” panders to a very specific sense of humor. Filled with the trademark body-based and rude puns that Schumer is known for, “Snatched” throws everything at the audience to get a laugh, from comedic and unexpected kills to bodily functions and even the removal of a tapeworm. It’s gross, it’s immature, and it’s unapologetically over the top and as long as you go in expecting to have that kind of fun the comedy will suit everything your looking for. “Snatched” is actually a very funny movie and Schumer proves to have great comedic timing while her costars, especially Goldie Hawn, hold their own in keeping up with Schumer’s likely adlibbed puns that could give Melissa McCarthy a run for her money.

The action is also turned up to ten as we see all kinds of crazy antics result in hilarious deaths and mishaps as our two starring ladies try to escape their kidnappers time and time again. The film doesn’t go way over the top in making each death and encounter comedic gold while emphasizing the intensity of the situation with a few well placed explosions and escape scenes to spice things up.

What the film lacks though is a great story. The movie starts at a bit of a sluggish pace, spending almost the first 45 minutes setting up the situation as we see the mother and daughter encounter some comedic supporting characters and get settled in to their vacation destination, all the while getting a bit of exposition as to where these ladies are in their lives and relationship. Once the action begins however the kidnapping concept proves to be extremely uninteresting as the villains are forgettable, bland, and pose no threat to these bumbling ladies who find their way out of every predicament without so much as a bullet tearing their dresses. Once they find themselves alone, trying to survive, they experience every action comedy cliché from the temporary safe haven, to meeting a bumbling idiot they thought would be a savior, and eventually having the heart to heart talk about their differences and love for each other in the middle of the jungle that’s supposed to drive home the deeper lesson of the film but falls on deaf ears as an out-of-place expositional rant.

All of this is completely overshadowed by the comedy gold the film has to offer and makes the entire premise of the movie seem a bit ridiculous in hindsight, and I mean more ridiculous than the movie actually tries to make it. The story could have just as easily chronicled a mother and daughter on a vacation without the kidnapping sub plot and probably been a bit more interesting and entertaining. To me it felt like the kidnapping concept was shoehorned into the film to dry and add some life to a story that is essentially about and mother and daughter bonding over a mutual adventure out of their comfort zones.

The film would have been better served leaning more on its more comedic elements than the adventure aspect. Hawn and Schumer try to drive home the dire situation their characters are in, but it’s all for not. The whole kidnapping element is actually downplayed way too much and while the fish-out-of-water approach may have worked with a different story in mind, this particular tale starts off amusing and enjoyable and devolves into generic territory with nothing but the pure raw comedic talent of the cast bringing any kind of life or value to the adventure we see on the screen.

Still, despite its generic plot and frankly uninteresting kidnapping premise, “Snatched” is among the better comedies 2017 has offered to date. Schumer, Hawn, and the enter cast manage to take a mediocre tale and lift it much higher than it deserves to be by inserting some well times puns, great comedic energy, and personality into the plot. It could have been so much better, but for what it is “Snatched” is worth the viewing and, if given the chance with an open mind, will probably have you laughing long after you leave the theater.

 

GRADE: 3 stars

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