Strong but fractious, the mother-daughter bond is a soft target for sit-coms. Fill it with two female legends of comedy, set them on a road-trip movie through exotic locations, add a kidnapping, some bawdy gags and sketches, and hey presto: a box-office success. Even a solid recipe like this can sometimes fail and it certainly has in Snatched (2017). Where were those missing ingredients, like a plausible script and a coherent storyline?
When her boyfriend dumps Emily (Amy Schumer) she asks her mother Linda (Goldie Hawn) to take his place on a pre-paid dream-of-a-lifetime holiday. The act of asking is a classic but lame skit of desperate lies with the flighty Emily not wanting to go alone and the over-controlling Linda dying to be asked. On their first night in Hawaii, Emily is picked up by a handsome Aussie and soon both are taken on a friendly local tour into the island’s primitive interior and straight into a kidnap plot. From here on, it’s a repetitive cycle of escape, fleeing, cornered, escape and so on, interrupted only by the kind of body-part one-liners that live stand-up comics can get away with but that never work in a feature movie. Along the way, the girls cause havoc and a few triumphant girl-power casualties. A ransom demand ends up with Linda’s moronic but devoted son who tricks the US diplomatic corps into launching a recovery operation. It sounds like a plot, but its only noise.
How could this film be saved? Maybe with less reliance on femo-slapstick lines like “oops, one of my boobs fell out” or characters that an audience might care about or a less repetitive and less predictable storyline. As for that weirdly unpleasant tapeworm skit: it set the bar below the floor. This film is truly a waste of comedic talent.
Director: Jonathan Levine
Stars: Amy Schumer, Goldie Hawn
A USA production