Directed by: Jonathan Levine
Starring: Amy Schumer, Goldie Hawn, Ike Barinholtz, Christopher Meloni, Wanda Sykes, Joan Cusack, Tom Bateman, Oscar Jaenada, Bashir Salahuddin
Snatched presents us with a more tolerable Amy Schumer than showcased in 2015's Trainwreck. That Amy Schumer sank the movie. Here, we see someone more likable and more insecure who isn't too cool for the room. She engages our sympathies. So much so that I wished she had a different script to work with, one which doesn't ungainly squeeze a kidnapping subplot into a movie about a mother and daughter who don't get along as they should.
The first ten minutes or so of Snatched sets up rich comic possibilities which the movie abandons once it hits South America. Emily Middleton (Schumer) is fired from her job in a clothing store, is dumped by her wannabe rock star boyfriend and is thus without a companion for her impending vacation to Ecuador. Desperate and stuck with a non-refundable trip, she begs her prudish mother Linda (Hawn) to go with her and not necessarily because she loves her mother's company.
Linda prefers to read a book in her hotel room, while Emily hooks up with a hunky British guy (Bateman) who sweeps her off her feet. But the courtship is simply a ruse to lure Emily and Linda from the confines of the resort and kidnap them. The leader of the kidnappers is the slimy Morgado (Jaenada), who demands $100,000 from Emily's agoraphobic brother Jeffrey (Barinholtz-in a funny performance). Jeffrey responds by contacting a very unhelpful State Department employee (Salahuddin) whose utter unwillingness to do anything also results in laughs.
Schumer and Hawn have an unforced chemistry, although Hawn's face moves considerably less than it did when we last saw her in 2002's The Banger Sisters. I also liked Christopher Meloni as a rugged, intense American adventurer who helps the ladies while channeling his inner Michael Douglas a la Romancing the Stone. He walks, talks, and sounds like a guy who has seen too many adventure movies.
The laughs aren't frequent, however, and there are long stretches when we wonder where this kidnapping movie came from. The earlier scenes worked better. It would have been fun to watch Emily's and Linda's relationship evolve from awkwardness to understanding without bogging itself down with the kidnapping plot that feels like a movie hedging its bets. I didn't hate Snatched as much as I felt it could have been more.