Film Review: SNATCHED (USA 2017) ***

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snatched.jpgWhen her boyfriend dumps her before their exotic vacation, a young woman persuades her ultra-cautious mother to travel with her to paradise, with unexpected results.

Director: Jonathan Levine
Writer: Katie Dippold
Stars: Amy Schumer, Goldie Hawn, Kim Caramele

Review by Gilbert Seah

 Written by Katie Dippold, inspired by her own relationship with her mother, the new Mother’s Day comedy SNATCHED follows the unexpected adventures of a daughter Emily Middleton (Amy Schumer) and mother Linda (Goldie Hawn) when they get kidnapped while vacationing in Ecuador.
The script offers plenty of opportunities for hilarity. The story calls for Emily to be jilted by her boyfriend (Randall Park). She convinces her single mother, who never goes out to vacation with her. While on holiday, Emily’s constant flirting with men causes her to be conned on a day trip where she drags mother along. It is a trap for a kidnapping and ransom. Their escape means a possible hilarious escape through the Amazon while dodging bullets and arrows. Throw in a few very odd characters like Emily’s agoraphobic brother who is a mamma’s boy, two fellow tourists who are supposed to be experts on South America, jungle doctors and a Indiana Jones adventurer who is dying of cancer and one might expect a big hit comedy.

Not quite! The many opportunities for comedy result in the film often being all over the place. This fact might be good in a way, as it escapes the trap (almost) of dealing with the past broken mother/daughter relationship. To director Levine and scriptwriter Dippold’s credit, a few of the comedic set-ups are really funny – laugh-out loud funny.

The segment in which Emily is discovered with a tropical ailment – the infection of a tapeworm is inspired madness. The local doctor lures the tapeworm out (a monster of a reptile equivalent to anything from the ALIEN films) with a chunk of meat before the monster worm squirms itself out of Emily’s mouth.

The prized comedic performance goes to Ike Barinholtz as Jeffrey, Emily’s crazy brother who she initially despises. But when he discovers his mamma (that is what he calls her in the film) and sister kidnapped, he bravely leaves the house, contacts the American Embassy and leads a rescue mission in Colombia. Barinholtz , who has never been anything short of hilarious (remember him as the loud laughing clown in NEIGHBORS TWO) totally steals every single scene in this movie. It is hard not to laugh every time he utter the word ‘mamma’. Goldie Hawn who won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress way back when in CACTUS FLOWER still proves she has the acting chops. In the one dramatic scene where she stands by her principles touting her unthankful work of a mother, she demonstrates once again a superior screen presence. John Cusack and Wanda Sykes play a ‘gay’ couple who help rescue Emily and Linda. Cusack’s military stunts are perfectly timed for hilarity.

The film does not shy away from being an adult comedy. Schumer showcases her breast in one funny scene. There are quite a few killings in the film, though the bad men are the ones accidentally shot or speared.

Despite the film’s few flaws, SNATCHED has lots to enjoy – Goldie Hawn on the scene again, scene stealer Ike Barinholtz, Joan Cusack’s acrobatics and mostly, the priceless laugh-out loud moments.



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