Film Review: ‘Snatched’

Snatched Movie Amy Schumer Goldie Hawn
Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn team up in a mother-daughter kidnap romp that sticks to the surface and earns too few laughs.

Amy Schumer is one of those rare comic artists, like Louis C.K. or Chris Rock, who can get you laughing out loud at reality. Two years ago, she carried that scorched-earth impulse right into her first movie, the fearlessly funny and close-to-the-bone “Trainwreck.” Written by Schumer herself, and directed by Judd Apatow, it was the most audacious romantic comedy in years — and the most satisfying, too — because it touched a nerve of almost masochistic sincerity. In “Snatched,” her first movie since “Trainwreck,” Schumer gets cast as a loser who’s even further down on the totem pole of respectability. It’s a sign of Schumer’s rapport with the audience that in the opening scene, where she appears to be playing the most annoying off-the-rack clothing-store customer in history (it turns out she’s actually the sales person), the deeper the hole she digs for herself, the more we like her.

Schumer is a virtuoso of cringe comedy. When her character, Emily, gets fired, and is then dumped by her boyfriend, her mixture of pathological self-doubt and clueless egomania is served up with a candor you can’t stop gawking (or giggling) at. You may feel like you’d follow her anywhere.

But at “Snatched,” even if you do love Amy Schumer, you have to follow her into an aggressively cartoonish mother-daughter vacation-from-hell comedy that never strays far from the fractious, one-note surface. The movie teams Schumer with Goldie Hawn, in what’s supposed to be a return to form for the original contempo kewpie doll of screwball comedy. The trouble is, “Snatched” really is a return to form — it goes right back to the knockabout synthetic spirit of such cheeseball Goldie Hawn comedies as “Foul Play,” “Overboard,” and “Bird on a Wire.” If you like those movies (and some do), maybe you’ll go for this, and “Snatched,” at least for the time being, probably has the market cornered on major Hollywood comedies about women behaving badly. But as written by Katie Dippold (the “Ghostbusters” remake) and directed by Jonathan Levine (“The Wackness”), it doesn’t set the bar very high.

Hawn plays Emily’s divorced mom, Linda, who is settled and stodgy, and treats her children with such indulgence that she has turned them into flamboyantly arrested basket cases. Emily’s brother, Jeffrey (Ike Barinholtz), is an agoraphobe who still lives at home with the woman he calls “Ma-ma” (he’s also a pop-culture drooler who thinks he can speak Klingon). As for Emily, her failure to be a functional adult is exceeded only by her lack of awareness of it. She can’t exist without somebody to prop her up, and that’s why she guilt-trips her mom into going with her on an exotic getaway to a resort hotel in Ecuador, taking the place of the boyfriend who just dumped her.

Hawn, in theory at least, is supposed to be playing one of those cranky maternal comic nightmares, like Shirley MacLaine in “Terms of Endearment” or “Postcards from the Edge” or — to tie it to the franchise era of Mother’s-Day-weekend-as-marketing concept — Jane Fonda in “Monster-in-Law.” But Hawn’s whole shtick as an actress is that she always insists, deep down, on being cuddly and likable. Linda gets her token lines of sniping, but it’s not funny sniping (the insults are too soft-edged; they aren’t allowed to be brittle), and this means that the movie’s mother-daughter jokes are like firecrackers with damp fuses.

In the hotel, Emily, who is already as tired of her mother’s limp scolding as we are, goes down to the bar to have a drink, and it’s there that she meets James (Tom Bateman), a swarthy bearded English dude who’s so handsome yet courtly that he isn’t fooling anyone — except her. Actresses like Sandra Bullock have specialized in taking everyday insecurities and turning them into stylized comedy, but Schumer does something even a lot of trained actresses don’t: She lets the feelings — the icky, squirmy, uncomfortable ones — come right through her skin. When she runs to the bathroom to prep for her evening with James, she gets caught, with the door open, in a compromising position, and Schumer makes it feel like a compressed stand-up routine (“Have you ever gone to the ladies’ room to clean your…?”). She’s a completely original presence, like Ann-Margret with the soul of an eager neurotic gopher, and she uses it to signify the jitters and dreams of a blessedly ordinary woman.

It won’t spoil “Snatched” to reveal the premise of the movie, which is that Emily and Linda get kidnapped…by scary racist-lite cliché Ecuadorian kidnappers! They’re tossed into a cell, with blood on the walls and a scorpion in the corner. Then they escape; then they get tracked down again. The movie is a jungle-set chase comedy that has many antecedents, from “Romancing the Stone” to “Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason,” but really, “Snatched” is the generic version of a latter-day Paul Feig comedy — which is to say, it’s an attempt to shoehorn Amy Schumer into the action-meets-yocks-meets-sisterhood formula of movies like “The Heat” and “Spy.” Feig is one of the film’s producers, and back in the days when he was teaming up with Apatow and directing “Bridesmaids” — the best romantic comedy before “Trainwreck” — there was a human touch to his work. It seems more gone than not now. “Snatched” is a flashy piece of product. It doesn’t quite try to turn Amy Schumer into the new Melissa McCarthy, but it reduces her all the same.

In a middling comic ride like this one, you fasten onto moments and squiggly little jokes. It’s funny that Emily keeps on killing people, and Christopher Meloni, looking like a debauched Jon Hamm, shows up as an adventurer-explorer so valiant that we keep waiting for the catch (the catch is: he’s out of his mind). The fact that the State Department can’t do much to help our heroines beyond advising them to “Get to Bogotá!” feels like a timely forlorn joke about the collapse of American power. The movie also looks about 10 times better than it needs to; the cinematography, by Florian Ballhaus, might have served an elegant Amazon Forest thriller. You could say that there’s no harm in Amy Schumer doing a picture like this one, and maybe there isn’t, but she’s one of those actresses who has the potential to bring a rare full-bodied comic voice to movies. That’s a quality that shouldn’t get thrown overboard.

Film Review: 'Snatched'

Reviewed at AMC Lincoln Square, New York, May 8, 2017. MPAA Rating: R. Running time: 90 MIN.


A 20th Century Fox release of a Chernin Entertainment, Feigco Entertainment production. Producers: Peter Chernin, Paul Feig, Jessie Henderson, Jenno Topping. Executive producers: Kim Caramele, Tonia Davis, Katie Dippold, Amy Schumer.


Director: Jonathan Levine. Screenplay: Katie Dippold. Camera (color, widescreen): Florian Ballhaus. Editors: Zene Baker, Melissa Bretherton.


Amy Schumer, Goldie Hawn, Wanda Sykes, Joan Cusack, Ike Barinholtz, Tom Bateman, Oscar Jaenada, Christopher Meloni.

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  1. Rhonda Case says:

    Not much comedy and unfortunately too much swearing couple funny spots nothing like I thought it would be quite sad Goldie’s first movie for a long time

  2. Kate says:

    So much love for Amy and so little for Goldie in this review. If that was simply based on the reviewer’s opinion of their performances in this movie, that would be one thing. But Goldie gets the short shrift throughout this review. “Overboard” as a cheesy movie that IF we like it then we might like “Snatched”? Are you serious? Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell are magic in that movie, which is hilarious.

  3. Rachel says:

    Such a waste of time and money. I don’t care how bad times are this movie is no comedy it’s a ronchy close to porn movie. I apologized to my adult sons for taking me to see this movie. Now I know why Goldi Hawn and Amy Schumer thank the audience for seeing the movie before it even starts. This movie gets 1/2 of a star because that’s the least I can give. $65 down the drain.

  4. Harry McNeal says:

    I enjoy watching the studios lose LOTS of money by continually pushing Amy Schumer, who cannot act, is not funny or attractive, and has nothing to recommend her.

  5. Alan Ford says:

    muppet comes alive on screen post which muppet in reply. oh man goldie looked horrible on corden. her face was so tight i think her smile is frozen and her neck like an old rooster sad she should have stayed retired.

  6. Alan Ford says:

    amy schumer is in this movie it will be a dud. she’s a filthy mouth with no acting chops and even the great goldie won’t keep this from being a flop. its gonna be a slop flop anything with this talentless schumer is. libbywood banked on another big mouth loser.

  7. Cass says:

    Like Chris Rock and Louis C.K.? That was surely meant as a joke. Nobody considers her anywhere near those two.

  8. Lydia G says:

    Every publication except Variety has trashed it. Wonder why?

    • Sam says:

      He trashed it… In a nice way.
      To bad the gorgeous cinematog was wasted on this pos. Schumer puke.
      I guess the world is too weird now that anyone can write jokes; movies, snl, tv.

  9. mark polowy says:


  10. MikeT says:

    What’s our opening weekend projection? I’m gonna say $15 million with a second weekend drop off of 85%. Total cume $40 million worldwide. Another Amy Schumer train wreck. Then it fades away quietly and nobody talks about it ever again. Rinse repeat.

  11. Ron Glee says:

    Wrong wrong wrong, Schumer is not funny, just repulsive,

  12. Love Goldie. Can’t stand Amy. Goldie love can’t overcome Amy loathing.

  13. millerfilm says:

    Starring (former human, now half plastic) Goldie Hawn and professional tramp Amy Schumer.

    • Lulu says:

      This is a sexist and offensive remark. This comment would not be made about male stars of similar ages.

      • AJ says:

        This might be relevant if her entire standup career and fame wasn’t based on being a tramp.

      • CelluloidFan35mm says:

        Yes, it would. Derek Jeter comes to mind. But, really, it doesn’t make it less sexist or even insulting if it was made about males.

  14. Ashley West says:

    I would go WAY out of my way to avoid seeing Amy Schumer in anything. She is devoid of humor and one of the most unpleasant people on the face of the earth. Why is this talent-less hack being promoted so much?

  15. cas127 says:

    “She’s a completely original presence, like Ann-Margret with the soul of an eager neurotic gopher, and she uses it to signify the jitters and dreams of a blessedly ordinary woman.”

    Man, in attempting to kiss Sen. Schumer’s ass (“thanks for the career, cousin”… – Amy) Variety descends to utter gibberish in this article.

    What the F does Ann Margaret have to do with a gopher (neurotic or not)? Not remotely the same species…

    What the F does Ann Margaret have to do with Amy Schumer? Barely the same species…

  16. CJB says:

    No, Schumer is more obnoxious than funny. She tries too hard to overcompensate for being a one note,
    not particularly attractive, comic.

  17. Helen says:

    so one of Hollywood’s biggest bleeding heart liberals makes an anti woman, pro-gun violence, xenophobic movie. Got it.

  18. Jane says:

    Amy’s persona of a dim, over-sexed, drunk, slob is over-played and not a good role model for her female fans. Worst of all, it’s not funny. It’s just gross. her new Netflix special is awful.

  19. sarah says:

    Amy is nothing like Louis CK. She is horrendous

  20. CelluloidFan35mm says:

    There maybe a few good comedies here and there but they’re few and far between these days.
    You’re right about The Nice Guys. Great flick but that was more action/mystery/comedy than an full fledged comedy but nobody showed up to see that.
    Spy, on the other hand, was one of the most absolute worst movies I’ve ever seen. It was painfully unfunny and one of the few movies that I’ve walked out on.

  21. cha0z10 says:

    Amy Schumer is definitely not in the same league as Louis C.K
    That line makes no sense. Also, laughing out loud at reality is something all comedians attempt to get from the audience and a lot of them succeed. That is not a rare thing to encounter in comedy. What are you even talking about?

  22. Sp 60 says:

    Total trash. Avoid this movie like the plague that it is…

    And the fact that Ms. Gun Control USA uses a gun in this movie to beat the bad guys just makes her even more of a hypocrite.

    • Jane says:

      you are absolutely right. All these NRA haters (and btw I favor gun control) make these movies that feature gun violence galore. When it comes to money, their beliefs take a back seat.

  23. Frank says:

    Please please please please please
    make a g rated great comedy classic.

  24. derac says:

    Schumer is arguably the most overrated comic out there. She’s clearly a legend in her own mind.

  25. Toni says:

    Also, the foreign country vacation kidnap is always a disgusting news item
    that has tragic results and may make the idea of watching it in a movie vomit inducing.

  26. hellasrudy says:

    A has been, and a wannabe, sad and tragic. There isn’t an ounce of acting talent between the two. I suppose if making ridiculous faces (shades of J. Carrey) qualifies one as being a comedian, then you get what you pay for. Me? I’ll skip….

  27. Sam says:

    Again. The red poster theory. Warning people the movie stinks.
    Gee, they look so cute together in the picture for ads, Amy and Goldie,
    but really, trainwreck was worse than the awful bridesmaids that friends still remind me about wasting their time with.
    So wow how do these horrid movies get
    the promo videos, another disappointment for a hoped for funny Goldie movie. Yeeeekes.

    • Helen says:

      I got so sick of all the interviews with Amy and Goldie talking about how much fun they had making the movie and going on vacation together and hanging out with Kate hudson on their expensive yacht. Maybe if they had spent more time on the script???

    • Toni says:

      Omg another child parent movie;
      Which one of the recent 10 in the past 3 yrs were not bad and terrible.
      Deniro and efron bad grandpa,bad but good looking.
      Melissa and aunt, bad, a couple jokes.
      rograne and Streisand the worst ever,
      please sing something.
      The best relative movie-the fockers series.

  28. Cairoloves says:

    Just got back from watching it… loved it!

    Had low expectations, but the movie slowly sucked us in with its awesome don’t take itself too serious sense of humor, memorable characters and memorable moments!

    Be sure to give this one a spin: 4/5!

    • Jill says:

      You mean “The movie slowly sucked!” Full Stop. So you seriously just got back from seeing the movie and couldn’t wait to get onto the Variety review to add a comment? Yeah right!

    • Anj says:

      i’m actually going to watch it. People are so serious that even for movies they sounded like they are gonna have a heart attack with how the movie may suck so bad!.SMH. It’s entertainment! If this is not your kind of comedy, just watch other movies! Period.

      • CelluloidFan35mm says:

        It’s not that simple. The problem is that these types of comedies are only kind that Hollywood seems to be churning out which are the unimaginative, classless, witless, cleverless and outright lazy “raunch” comedies and it leaves no room for any attempt at something clever, witty, creative or even remotely funny.
        What’s worse is that the mainstream audience will eat it up every time and except the status quo.

        I’m all for entertainment but how about putting in some actual effort?

    • dee says:

      nice try. nnnnnnope.

  29. Mr.Beepo says:

    Hollywood continues to attempt to make Amy a star. Not happening. She is simply not funny.

  30. Chuckie says:

    The hatred for Schumer will sink it. Clearly.

  31. written by Katie Dippold (the “Ghostbusters” remake !!!

  32. Did anybody actually READ the review? I’m a Hawn fan myself and I’ve missed her greatly in recent years.
    However, the review doesn’t rave about Goldie.
    It DOES sing high praises for Schumer, her past works, and her potential in future endeavors.
    I happen to agree with columnist in his admiration for Schumer and his analysis of her talents.
    All I’m saying is don’t blame Amy for Goldie’s poor judgement if film is poor.
    I can all but guarantee a massive hit anyways. It’s going to take in millions.

  33. Moose says:

    Bomb city with Schumer in it. Too bad for Goldie to be paired with a loser.

  34. Booooo Amy Schumer says:

    Wonder how many jokes Schumer stole for this one. There’s an interesting 25-30min video on youtube breaking down SOME of the jokes she’s ripped off for her standup, tv shows, and movies, including your little shop store clerk scene. Shame on you for praising a blatant plagiarist.

  35. dommzer says:

    no no no. Foul Play? Are you nuts? Foul Play is a terrific comedy thriller… definitely above average… one of the top hits in 1978… got very good reviews and like 6 globe nominations… that’s a silly example. Overboard yes was corny fun but people still enjoy it a lot. Bird on a wire was fluff and by the numbers even back then and doesn’t really hold up. This movie looks exactly like you are suggesting… by the numbers etc… but Foul Play is kind of an awesome fun movie with top energy, great perfs by Chevy Chase and Dudley Moore and Goldie. Shame dude.

    • CelluloidFan35mm says:

      I’m with you on Foul Play. It had true laughs and legit thrills.
      Foul Play along with Overboard just goes to show how far the quality of mainstream comedies have fallen over the years.
      It’s outright embarrassing at this point.
      It looks like mediocrity is being praised and rewarded these days.

      I did enjoy Bird on a Wire, though. Not perfect but it had some good moments and was actually entertaining plus it’s way better than the movies we’re getting now.

      • dommzer says:

        there are still some good comedies here and there… if you havent seen them you should check out nice guys… edge of seventeen… everybody wants some and spy is really terrific…
        but to negatively compare foul play to this is insane.

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