Jacqueline Gualtieri ’17/ Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Snatched tried rewrite the way audiences look at the mother-daughter comedy. It tried to change the idea of the damsels in distress. It tried to change how we view “women’s movies.” It tried to be a lot of things, and yet it failed at pretty much everything. Amy Schumer broke down barriers and created a different type of romantic comedy with 2015’s Trainwreck, but anyone who goes to see Snatched will understand that this movie is the real trainwreck.
When we meet Emily (Amy Schumer), she’s a mess, just fired from her job and recently dumped, left with two nonrefundable tickets to Ecuador. After finding out that none of her friends want to travel with her, she finally convinces her mother to accompany. While there, she falls head over heels for a guy who ends up kidnapping the pair, forcing them to work together in order to escape.
All in all, Schumer pretty much plays the exact same character as she did in Trainwreck, facing the exact same moral dilemma. She’s selfish, vulgar, and doesn’t have her life together. The film details her efforts to learn selflessness and stand on her own two feet. It’s disappointing to see that Schumer isn’t developing much of a range on the big screen, but perhaps the writing is partially to blame. Schumer was written into the role and given not much comedy to work with.
Snatched was originally written by Kate Dippold whereas Trainwreck was written by Schumer. The disconnect between the engaging story of Schumer’s first film and the constant fart jokes of Snatched is stark.
It seems like a crime that this is the movie that brought Goldie Hawn back to the big screen. Having just been granted a star of the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Hawn came back to the limelight in a big way this year. She was always one half of a strong duo on screen like with Kurt Russell in Overboard and Steve Martin in The Out-of-Towners. It made sense for her to come back in another duo with Schumer, but it’s a shame that its in such a lifeless film. Her character is a nervous cat lady, just another stereotype in a film riddled with them. She faces some development, sure, but mostly her character just seems to be there to say “I told you so” a lot and then eventually give her daughter hugs. It seems that they tried to redeem her and make her “badass” in the end, but she spends far too much time on screen as the stereotype for the arc to feel redeeming.
Speaking of stereotypes, let’s talk about those the entire movie is based off of. After going to Ecuador, the audience see very few people who are from South America, none of which have speaking parts, until the kidnapping. After that, nearly every other person on screen is South American and every single one of them plays a villain, or a coward who is afraid of the villains and refuses to help the women. Perhaps director Jonathan Levine and writer Dippold should have found a way to fight against these stereotypes, rather than play right into them.
The only saving grace of Snatched is it’s minor characters. Jeffrey (Ike Barinholtz) is Emily’s agoraphobic brother, who has to try to overcome his illness to save his family. He’s pretty funny, although it reaches the point that he’s very overused for laughs. Morgan Russell (Bashir Salahuddin) is the less than helpful agent who Jeffrey harasses to try to get him to find his mom and sister. Many of the funniest scenes in the film are between Morgan and Jeffrey. But the real heroes of the story are Ruth (Wanda Sykes) and Barb (Joan Cusack), two women who are at the same resort as Emily and Linda. Ruth and Barb are “platonic” friends who go on vacation together every year. Ruth acts as Barb’s voice, as Barb cut out her tongue to prevent herself from talking about what she saw when she worked in special ops. Although Barb is silent throughout the entire movie, the moments with her are hands down the best in the film. Cusack is such a talented actress that she doesn’t need dialogue. Everything she’s thinking is always perfectly displayed in her actions and expressions. Sykes and Cusack play off each other with ease. It’s a shame that the pair didn’t have more screen time.
Snatched is being released on Mother’s Day weekend, billed as the perfect mother-daughter comedy. But with poorly written characters, fart-and-boob-joke filled dialogue, and an anything-but-interesting plot, Snatched is obnoxiously skippable. There’s nothing new or fun about the film and the only way it would have been good is if the audience could fast forward to the scenes with Cusack and Sykes. This Mother’s Day, prove to your mom that you love her by not taking her to see this movie.
Overall Grade: D
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