All images courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox
The last time we saw Goldie Hawn on the big screen was in 2002 in the gal pal comedy The Banger Sisters. So when it was announced that the acting legend who starred in classics Private Benjamin and Overboard was making a return in SNATCHED opposite Amy Schumer, fans rejoiced. With Schumer as a popular among the millennial masses and Hawn the brilliant pioneer who blazed the trail for her, the two are a guaranteed match made in heaven. Their chemistry is undeniable and keeps the movie afloat — but the primary reason to see the movie is to celebrate the gloriousness that is Goldie Hawn. Too bad it wasn’t entirely her movie.
Schumer plays Emily, a woman with her privileged head in the clouds who can’t seem to hold down a job — but she means well (don’t they all?) After she loses a job, she finds solace in her upcoming exotic vacation with her boyfriend (Randall Park). Right before they are about to leave, he dumps her and leaves her in a puddle of tears and two non-refundable tickets to Ecuador.
Her overprotective mom Linda (Hawn) spends her days laying low in her suburban home. Her husband has left her and besides her cats, she lives with her clingy and borderline creepy adult son Jeffrey (Ike Barinholtz), who refers to her as “mamma” as if he were Madeline. When she’s not going to pottery classes, she’s spending time with her crew of felines trying to figure out how to turn off the caps lock while chatting on Facebook. The two have grown distant over the years so when Emily finds out that Linda once had an adventurous life, she thinks that a trip to South America is exactly what they need to reconnect. After putting her fears and hesitations aside, Linda agrees and the two are on their way for a trip of mother-daughter bonding.
Upon arrival, there is immediately a disconnect. Emily wants to go explore the city and party with the locals while Linda would rather stay in and read a good book. The two set their own itineraries until Emily convinces her mom to go on a tour of the city with her new handsome friend James (Tom Bateman). Their day of exploring the city’s culture is going well until everything takes a sharp left turn and Linda and Emily end up victim to a kidnapping trap orchestrated by a big baddie named Morgado (Oscar Jaenada). They manage to escape from his grip to get help and go on a dangerous, and surprisingly moving mother-daughter bonding adventure. Filled with Hawn’s general magnificence and signature Schumer humor, the romp makes for perfect Mother’s Day viewing, but beyond that, I wasn’t totally taken by this movie.
Directed by Jonathan Levine (Warm Bodies, The Night Before), Snatched marks the third collaboration between screenwriter Katie Dippold and producer Paul Feig. It’s without a doubt that the team has the energy and the female-driven comedy pedigree to make this movie appealing to audiences. It was done with The Heat, Ghostbusters, and the modern-day gold-standard when it comes to female comedies Bridesmaids (although, some may disagree). Snatched is spirited, surprisingly emotional, and obviously fun, but it lacks an extra layer of zest to make it a hit comedy that the world will be talking about six months from now.
Hawn starring in Snatched could be seen to many as a way of stunt casting. It could be that she is in the move to sell nostalgia in that “we put a comedy legend who hasn’t been in a movie in 15 years so it has to be good” kind of way. But this definitely isn’t a Demi Moore in Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle situation. Seeing Hawn back on screen satisfies and fuels you with a hope that more movies starring her are on the horizon. And placing her opposite Schumer is quite enjoyable — and as a person who isn’t a huge Schumer fan, that says a lot. The two work well together and their rapport gives the movie the life it needs to be a stable, watchable comedy that paints an affecting, yet unorthodox picture of the unique relationship between a mother and her daughter.
The story unfolds splendidly with a good template of broad humor that makes it move forward with a Feig-esque swagger that we have seen in the past. In addition to the dynamic Schumer-Hawn duo, there’s a lot of color added to the comedy with eccentric and hilarious roles filled out by the supporting players played by a fantastic group of talented comedic actors like Barinholtz, Wanda Sykes, Joan Cusack, Christopher Meloni, and Bashir Salahuddin (the MVP of the movie, by the way). Even though the movie delivers the funny, Snatched is very standard when it comes to Schumer R-rated fare. There was nothing unbelievably spectacular or grandiose about the movie. It was just, as the kids say, basic (are kids still saying that these days?) There was a tapeworm scene that is supposed to gross us out and like the explosive diarrhea scene in Bridesmaids, that’s probably the one thing everyone will be talking about after this movie comes out. The movie was in not boring at all, but everything seemed like a color-by-number Feig-Dippold project. It’s entertaining but needed a few more scoops of funny to make it 100 percent fulfilling… or maybe I’m just deranged and demented and need more push-the-envelope raunchiness to be pleased.
There’s a moment in the film when Linda is at home alone. She just had a lively chat with Emily on her Facebook wall thinking that it was all private. Surrounded by cats, she starts to fill out an online dating profile and then after careful thoughts, deletes it and retires to bed. That scene was moving, funny, subtle, and effortless — something that Hawn has been a master of for decades. This is the movie I wanted. I wanted this to be a Goldie Hawn vehicle that told the story of a woman dealing with empty nest syndrome and forced to get her groove back. Sure, that is folded into the real narrative of the movie, but when it comes down to it, this is Schumer’s movie. But I imagine a fantasy land where this movie solely focuses on Hawn’s character. It would have been a wonderful story, but I understand that the Snapchat generation needs their fill of Schumer.
Snatched is clever with its “dumb Americans in a foreign land” humor and is padded with a good amount of Schumer-grade jokes. Although they rake in some laughs, their expiration date is sooner rather than later. Still, Schumer fans will relish in all of it while the Hawn’s long overdue return will be enough to bring out fans of The First Wives Club. That being said, it’s the perfect heartwarming — and delightfully inappropriate — movie for millennials and their moms.
Running time: 91 minutes
Dino watches too much TV, enjoys reality singing competitions and laughs inappropriately during dramatic films. He’s a fan of comedy, podcasts, and comedy podcasts. He’s a reformed comic book geek and thinks “The Goonies” is the best movie of all time. When he isn’t stuffing his face with a burrito, he’s thinking about his next trip to Disneyland.
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Dino-Ray Ramos | Film Critic