Snatched Amy Schumer, Goldie Hawn, Ike Barinholtz. Directed by Jonathan Levine. Rated R. Opens Friday citywide.
Amy Schumer worked really hard to coax Goldie Hawn out of retirement to co-star in Snatched, but all the effort is in service of a comedy that’s mediocre at best, the kind of material that Hawn probably could have starred in with Sandra Bullock or her own daughter Kate Hudson if she had kept working after 2002’s The Banger Sisters. Schumer brings a bit more personality to her role, but it’s still a fairly generic part for a writer and performer whose fame has been based on her unique, undiluted perspective.
Schumer isn’t the screenwriter here, though (that’s Katie Dippold of The Heat and Ghostbusters), and Snatched isn’t a personal story like her breakthrough 2015 rom-com Trainwreck. Schumer’s Emily is a boorish layabout who loses her boyfriend and her dead-end job and can’t find anyone to accompany her on the non-refundable South American vacation she has already booked. So she turns to Linda (Hawn), her uptight, overprotective mom, who’s always complaining that she and Emily don’t spend enough time together.
On a day trip away from their all-inclusive resort, Emily and Linda are attacked and kidnapped by a group of criminals, but their abduction is just a jumping-off point for a series of increasingly dangerous (and silly) misadventures. The movie has a tough time striking a balance between mocking clueless Americans abroad and relying on ethnic stereotypes, and it ends up too timid for its high-concept premise. There are a handful of good laughs, many of which come from Christopher Meloni as a wilderness guide who’s much less helpful than he first appears, but the jokes get less effective as the plot takes over in the second half. Schumer and Hawn have nice chemistry and could’ve made for an entertaining mother-daughter pair in a more laid-back movie. Too bad the plot keeps getting in the way.