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Review: “Snatched” Offers Laughs But Lacks Direction

Review: “Snatched” Offers Laughs But Lacks Direction

In the mother/daughter comedy Snatched, legendary actress Goldie Hawn makes her return to the screen after a fifteen year hiatus from acting. By the end, you’ll be dying to know how big the check was.

Amy Schumer “plays” Emily (quotes because there isn’t much acting here), a rudderless, Instagram addict of a human being who’s so lacking in even the most fundamental social awareness that after ignoring customers, telling her boss to screw off, casually stealing things, and hijacking dates by making the conversation entirely about herself she’s still surprised when her boss fires her and her boyfriend breaks things off. Goldie Hawn plays her agoraphobic mother who used to be fun but isn’t fun anymore because she dates online and has cats. Newly single and with a spare ticket for a romantic trip to Ecuador, Emily convinces her mother to come along because the tickets are non-refundable.

What I’m trying to get across here is that these characters aren’t terribly likable. Unlikeable leads are a fine place to start in a movie but you can only do so if the intention is for the character to grow and develop and become less generally awful by the time the credits role. In Snatched, this essential character arc is heavily truncated, which is why the first half of the film is very funny while the back half is not.

There are a lot of individually funny parts of this movie, though most of them you can see in the trailer. Wanda Sykes and Joan Cusack show up as “platonic friends” (it’s a bad lesbian joke) who aid Schumer invade a gang compound, including a chuckle-worthy bit with the couple stranded on top of a moving bus. Law & Order’s Christopher Meloni cameos as a wannabe jungle explorer, he’s pretty amusing. But for every funny scene there’s a less amusing gag to balance it out, like an extendedly cringey joke involving a tapeworm.

I got the feeling several times throughout Snatched that the film was trying to be funnier, female-driven answer to something like Romancing the Stone, except it can’t decide it wants to be a comedy or an action comedy. There are hints of action sequences that make me think they were going for the latter but decided to focus on the mother/daughter angle to give it marketability. I would have preferred they leaned into making the film an action comedy, as those aspects are much stronger.

ALSO: I need to state the the editing in this movie is atrocious. The film cuts from set-piece to set-piece so jarringly that I thought maybe a reel had been skipped.

I see the benefit of this movie more than I actually like it. There’s an entire subgenre of father/son bonding comedies and very few mother/daughter ones, so in concept Snatched was a good idea. Schumer’s shtick of being boorish and vapid is tested and proven and it’s not that it isn’t funny here, it’s just not utilized well. However, if you want to treat your mom this weekend to something short that’ll guarantee at least two hard laughs, Snatched will do (my own mother gives it two-thumbs up).

Verdict: Snatched is half-baked but there’s just enough solid humor to sustain the film’s short runtime. And mom will probably just be grateful you called her.