By: Arlene Allen
Snatched is a wild ride of a modern day screwball comedy. Starring Goldie Hawn (still absolutely beautiful) in what is being called a “come back” (to me, she never left) and Amy Schumer (hysterical as always) as the epitome of dysfunctional mother-daughter relationships. The action takes off when these two mismatched ladies find themselves on an adventure in Ecuador that neither of them bargained for.
Schumer is Emily Middleton, a Generation Xer whose life is going nowhere. The film opens on the worst day of her life as she gets fired from her retail job and dumped by her musician boyfriend (Randall Park) because he wants to see other ladies’ private parts. Mom Linda is on her way to becoming a crazy cat lady, taking care of her agoraphobic, nerdy, needy and completely annoying son Jeffrey (Ike Barinholtz). Mom is terrified of everything and still not over the loss of her husband to another woman. Emily avoids them like the plague.
But when Emily is faced with a non-refundable dream trip of Ecuador and no one to go with, she twists mom’s arm and woos her with insincere affection into going with her. Linda is not happy with this as she is sure danger waits at every corner. Linda has concluded that life is dangerous and that is that. The duo meets Ruth (Wanda Sykes) at their first poolside foray, who just seems to confirm all of Linda’s fears, stating that one in 4 American tourists is kidnapped in South America daily. Linda takes this as a sign and refuses fun in any form (not even a drink) and at all turns, determined to stay in her miserable shell forever.
Meanwhile, reckless Emily meets James (Tom Bateman) who is the perfect, gorgeous, fun loving man. He takes Emily on a whirlwind date and then asks her and her mother (convinced from the beginning they are all going to die) to go on a trip through the scenic areas of Ecuador. It isn’t long before all hell breaks loose (just as dear old Linda said it would, but even she doesn’t know what’s going to happen next). James’s car is totaled on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere and Emily and Linda wake up as captives of a crazed drug lord named Morgado (Oscar Jaenada). James’ fate hangs in the balance.
The hilarity is quite raw and the banter between Linda and Emily endlessly funny. The two draw closer to each other during their ordeal as they rely on each other to stay alive during their Amazon adventure and subsequent trials and tribulations. Hawn and Schumer both have sterling performances as a mother and daughter who just can’t relate to the other. Christopher Meloni has a brief role as jungle guide Roger, a macho manly man who talks like he just stepped out of Old Spice commercial. He is a scene stealer, giving Emily and Linda a hopeful boost when they need it the most while giving the audience a dreamy gasp or two. Arturo Castro and Pedro Haro have roles as the doctor and assistant who remove Emily’s tapeworm (in probably one of the grossest and simultaneously outrageously ludicrous scenes in the movie). Set your popcorn aside for that one.
Ruth and her friend Barb (played amazingly by Joan Cusack), a retired special ops commander who has cut out her own tongue to avoid talking, are gung ho to save the day. Barb’s stunts and antics are surprisingly badass. Even Jeffrey steps up to the plate to rescue his mother and sister, daring to venture outside for the first time in years and making FBI agent Morgan Russell’s (Bashir Salahuddin) life a living (but funny) hell.
I particularly liked how some of the seemingly most trivial things at the beginning of the movie come back into play with literally a vengeance at the end. I won’t tell you what, as you are going to have to go see it for yourself. It’s all very clever, though, and adds style and class to this comedy; the screenwriter Katie Dippold has produced an assured and well crafted story.
This review wouldn’t be complete without a mention of the head kidnapper, the drug lord terrorist Morgado, who manages to be menacing and befuddled at the same time. He definitely gets more from his victims than anybody could have ever expected. The looks on his face at times are inestimable. He simply can’t fathom how two dumb blonde American women can get the best of him. There is certainly a not so subtle feminist element to the film, one that points out the many ways that men intentionally and unintentionally disregard women, their intelligence and their feelings. Both Hawn and Schumer are unapologetic feminists and this certainly comes through. This may make men squirm a bit but I get the distinct impression this film’s target audience isn’t men, although this isn’t to imply a guy can’t enjoy the film.
Final Analysis: Snatched is a fun, grown up Mother’s Day movie; hilarious, very adept and ultimately very touching. It’s perfect for mending that dysfunction mother/daughter dynamic in your life! It most certainly resonated with me. I’m not sure how guys will react to this film, and for some reason as I exited the theater I overheard comparisons to How To be A Latin Lover, not all of them good.
Grade: B+ Not a film for everyone