Amy Schumer Goldie Hawn Wanda Sykes Joan Cusack Ike Barinholtz Christopher Meloni
The general audience is likely to get a big kick out of Amy Schumer’s new movie, although it is already being criticized for being racist, just based on the previews, and its damaging the travel business in South America by implying that it’s dangerous to go there. I’m not a big fan of Schumer’s movies or TV shows, except for Trainwreck, but the same themes pretty much carry through all her work: Playing up sexy and trying for laughs from drunkenness, being cheeky, and shocking pronouncements. Many people enjoy that kind of humor, but it leaves me neutral or even cold (as in the case of alcohol). There were only about four incidents in Snatched that made me laugh. One was a shot of Linda’s (Hawn) sculpture of a cat. Another was when Ruth (Sykes, a gifted comedienne) is warning Emily (Schumer) about traveling in South America with her mother. Ruth doesn’t believe it’s safe to walk anywhere outside the resort, and cites a statistic that one in four tourists is kidnapped, saying, “See, one, two, three (Ruth, Emily, Linda); someone’s missing!” Still another was Amy doing a somersault to knock down a really bad guy who deserved it. This slapstick kind of humor can make me laugh, but like many jokes on TV and in movies, they’re repeated not just once, not twice, but three times.
The fourth good-comedy moment was when watching the Meloni character, Roger, a “tour guide”, leading the two kidnapped women out of the Amazon Jungle. These scenes are some of the best written in Snatched by Katie Dippold. He is a three-dimensional character created by Dippold, and Meloni makes him come to life with subtlety and comedic timing. I can also say that Cusack’s character of an ex-special ops agent who never speaks a word, is stunning in her actions—some acrobatic.
As you could see from the preview of this movie, Emily is dumped by her musician boyfriend after booking a vacation in Ecuador with him. None of her friends can go with her, and since she has a nonrefundable ticket, she’s so desperate she insists that her phobic mother (Hawn as Linda) go with her, arguing that it will do Linda good. Emily throws caution to the winds when a handsome man (Bateman) flirts with her in a bar and she spends a drunken (of course!) evening with him, heedless of any cautionary information she’s been given.
Soon after, Emily and Linda get kidnapped while touring outside the resort. Even worse, Colombian cartel men become involved, making it even more dangerous. Schumer and Hawn put their dramatic and comedic skills into these scenes, and they are good; it’s just that the material they’re working from is formulaic for this genre. It’s often over the top and just plain silly.
Music by Chris Bacon and Theodore Shapiro and cinematography by Florian Ballhaus enhance the beauty and cultural richness of the production, directed well by Jonathan Levine.
A movie that, despite its humor, alarms the South American tour industry.