‘Snatched’ is Just Funny Enough to Work

Snatched2017posterIt’s kind of funny this film comes out the same weekend as a (very bad) Guy Ritchie film, and he directed another movie called “Snatch…”

“Snatched” marks Amy Schumer’s second starring role on the big screen and features Goldie Hawn’s return to movies for the first time since 2002. The duo star as a mother and daughter who go on vacation in South America, only to be kidnapped and need to escape. Joan Cusack, Ike Barinholtz, Wanda Sykes and Christopher Meloni also star as Jonathan Levine directs.

I don’t mind Amy Schumer. I used to be a fan of her on the Comedy Central Roasts and her early standup, but like a lot of comedians (read: Kevin Hart) once she got big and made the transition into film and television, all her jokes become rinse and repeat of one another (not that I’m putting Schumer in the same breath as Kevin Hart as far as talent). I liked Schumer’s debut film “Trainwreck” (which she also wrote) and even if Schumer has been in the news for all the wrong reasons lately (blaming internet trolls for her awful standup special getting one-starred so much that Netflix actually changed their rating system), “Snatched” seemed funny enough. And it turns out, it is; it is literally funny enough.

What makes this film is its supporting cast. Ike Barinholtz (great in the “Neighbors” films) and Bashir Salahuddin (a “Late Night” writer who doesn’t even have his own Wikipedia page) have fantastic chemistry as Hawn’s agoraphobic son and the Embassy officer. Their back-and-forth is by far the best aspect of the film, and I really hope to see Salahuddin in more things as soon as possible. Wanda Sykes (always welcome) has a few great lines, too, including one that is in the trailer which makes me laugh every time I hear it.

Schumer and Hawn are both fine, but their roles could have been played by anyone. It isn’t as awkward or forced a relationship as Melissa McCarthy and Susan Sarandon in “Tammy,” but outside a few scenes the two never really share much chemistry. Schumer does her vulgar jokes (albeit toned-down from her usual shtick) and Hawn jumps between enjoying acting again and simply reciting dialogue.

The script, written by Katie Dippold, is probably the film’s weakest point. First things first, the plot isn’t that original; we’ve all seen the “American tourists get kidnapped in a foreign country” thing before. Also, much like Dippold’s other works (“The Heat” and “Ghostbusters”) the film has randomly inserted lines that act as punchlines. When they land, they’re funny; when they don’t, things get awkwardly quiet in the theater.

Despite only running a little over 90 minutes, the film feels longer but for the most part never drags. Editor Zeke Baker (best known for doing a lot of Seth Rogen’s films) has a knack for knowing how long to keep a scene going for before it begins to get overlong or repetitive, and even if the climax feels abrupt, this is a breezy enough film.

There really isn’t much to “Snatched.” While there were no laugh-out-loud moments, I found myself chuckling quite a bit, and even if the mother-daughter dynamic didn’t quite win me over in the film, my own mother enjoyed herself while watching it, as did I. What I’m getting at is this: if you just want to laugh, and plot and creativity aren’t high on your list of demands, then this is worth a view.

Critics Rating: 6/10


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