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FILM REVIEW: Fun Robbed Out of Amy Schumer’s SNATCHED

FILM REVIEW: Fun Robbed Out of Amy Schumer’s SNATCHED

In her newest main foray into feature film comedy after the tremendous success of Trainwreck, Amy Schumer has returned with the rough and tumble, mother-daughter comedy Snatched. Paired up with comedy legend (of old) Goldie Hawn as her eccentric mama, Schumer’s character embarks on a bonding vacation that goes horrible awry and does not quite live up to what she dreamt. Unfortunately, horribly awry is a probably kind way of describing the end result of Snatched, as well.

In the film, mom and daughter find themselves “closer than they’ve ever been” when they’re mistakenly abducted in an exotically dangerous locale, and as they have to use their wit and even muscle to find a way to survive. The setup itself is, frankly, not tremendously inventive or appealing, and the wheels fall off the movie train as quick as they fall away from the getaway itself.

Amy Schumer’s signature comedic style—appealing to many post-modern women but not, I confess, to me—has always been a sort of “bro” girl power type of humor. In Trainwreck, it’s the boozy girl who does not (purportedly) have time for love. Here, it is the rough, uncouth girl, tapeworm and all. This try-too-hard-to-be-cool style has always struck me as insincere and transparent, and in Snatched it provides a constant source of missteps. Time after time genuinely clever jokes are passed up for forced, dude jokes, lines clearly meant to distinguish herself from the pack in some contrived way.

While Kate McKinnon has, for example, perfected a way of differentiating her humor without forcing herself into, out of, or about gender roles, Schumer’s supposed nonchalant attitude about the whole thing is so stressed that it oozes exactly the contrary. Goldie Hawn, in all of this, is left along for the ride.

And her attempt to explore the contours of her femininity by contrasting herself to the older generation also does not quite work. Whether the mix of ages was meant to have crosscurrent appeal or whether it was setup for something else, it ends up not working in Snatched in the same way it has failed actresses many times over in the past. Susan Sarandon and Julia Roberts didn’t quite make the total greater than the sum of their own parts in Stepmom, nor did the Jamie Lee Curtis/Lindsay Lohan Freaky Friday remake really blow anyone’s mind away.

There are a couple of genuinely funny moments in Snatched—I laughed loudly three or four times. Wanda Sykes steals two key scenes, as she tends to do whenever she appears, though the formerly formidably Hawn seems way out of her element in the nouveau version of cool-girl humor. At least the guys are genuinely mostly along for the ride, more than could be said for the ultimately treasonous Trainwreck, despite its lofty disclaimers.

But, as a hijinks comedy, Snatched leaves much to be desired. It’s almost as if it took cues from female empowerment movies from Thelma and Louise to Mean Girls and turned them on their head—rejecting what made those movies great, femininity and all, in favor of what made them bland, and then applying it through the filter of Schumer’s concededly smart but ultimately insufficient wit.

Perhaps it is some sort of curse with Mothers’ Day themed films—last year’s disastrous Mothers’ Day still evoked posttraumatic stress. Perhaps, indeed, there is something about trying too hard to seem as if the gift of humor was granted, that ends up robbing a film like Snatched of all its ingenuity?

About The Author

J. Don Birnam

J. Don Birnam, a voting member of the New York Film Critics Online, has been a movie lover since he saw the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film in theaters at a tender age, and has been a devoted student of American film history every since. His favorite films range from Back to the Future to West Side Story, depending on the time of day, and has a mildly unhealthy obsessions with the Academy Awards. Any similarity with the slightly unstable writer in the seminal 1944 film ‘The Lost Weekend’ is pure coincidence

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