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‘Snatched’ is the equivalent of an over-the-top dessert that is a tasteless, jumbled mess

DWIGHT STRACHAN

Published: May 19, 2017

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Snatched (Rated C)

Cast: Goldie Hawn, Amy Schumer, Ike Barinholtz, Wanda Sykes

Genre: Comedy

Dwight’s Rating:3.5 Stars

 

Picture this — it’s a special event and your family and friends present you with what looks like the most amazing dessert ever. A multi-layered feast for the eyes!

You zoom in to take a closer look. It appears to have everything you could think of: graham cracker crust, cheesecake filling, a chocolate cake layer too.

But wait, there’s more! Fruit filling: cherries, raspberries, blueberries, apples and whoa! ... is that key lime too? Hmmm!

“Dig in!” Your friends insist. You take a bite. It’s actually tasty, with some very interesting flavors. You’re not entirely sure you’d have put some of these things together, but hey, it certainly isn’t boring!

You take another bite. To your shock, underneath the mounds of frosting, there’s even more: pineapples, raisins, lemon merengue, a layer of red velvet cake, and another of carrot cake! This just can’t be!

As you stuff your face, you think, “I may regret this in the morning.” But your friends look on excitedly. “Eat up!” You oblige, even though you can barely lift the dessert spoon.

With the sugar rush (and resultant headache) taking hold, you close your eyes for the next bite. Then, “What the …! Is that minced meat?” And with that, you and your taste buds are done!

Consider the new film “Snatched” the equivalent of such an over-the-top dessert. There are some quality ingredients in there, like stars Goldie Hawn and Amy Schumer. But there are so many elements that seem totally out of place. And while it is certainly funny, with many laugh-out-loud moments, the film is so unclear about what it’s supposed to be, the overall effect is that of a tasteless, jumbled mess.

Schumer plays impetuous dreamer Emily Middleton. Dumped by her boyfriend on the eve of their vacation, Emily persuades her cautious mother, Linda, to accompany her on an exotic getaway to South America. Polar opposites, Emily and Linda must soon work through their differences to escape from a wildly outrageous and dangerous jungle adventure.

Through at least the first half hour, things appear to be going well, putting an interesting twist on the buddy comedy/odd couple shtick.

Schumer plays the potty-mouthed, unlucky-at-love loser that would be familiar to anyone who watches her Emmy-winning Comedy Central sketch show “Inside Amy Schumer”. It’s a nice contrast to Hawn’s over-cautious, over-protective mother character.

But “Snatched” takes a very odd turn when those characters are kidnapped on that South American vacation (which must present a tourism and PR nightmare for Ecuador and Colombia). It soon becomes clear that this is trying hard to be a mother-daughter version of “The Hangover”. So in addition to being replete with raunchy, R-rated language and humor, criminal element plotlines are mixed in.

Suddenly, there are very extreme and bizarre tonal shifts. There’s nothing funny about the kidnapping scenes. These bad guys are humorless thugs. There’s nobody like Ken Jeong’s “The Hangover” character, whom you just can’t take seriously.

Then, Schumer and Hawn run into characters so silly that they seem more like cartoons. In fact, most of the movie feels like an episode of adult animated sitcoms like “Family Guy” or especially “American Dad”, with the same level of extreme and implausible nonsense that would only be acceptable on such programs.

With all the questionable ingredients, the suspected main aim here — to provide a platform for mother-daughter bonding (the film premiering on Mother’s Day weekend was no accident) — seems forced and awkward.

And as with that dessert, halfway through you realize this was not the best idea, even if you did enjoy the first few bites. In the end, as the indigestion sets in, it’s Hawn for whom you feel the most sorry. With “Snatched” being her first film in 15 years, the 71-year old (she still looks amazing!) Oscar-winner deserves much better. The comedic timing is still there, and we definitely need to see more from her.

Hopefully next time she’ll be in something simpler, something sweeter. Perhaps a nice soufflé!

 


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