Film Review: Snatched (USA, 2017) is an uneven caper with more faces than a hundred watches

A more appropriate title for the film Snatched would be “Botched” because this was a wasted opportunity. The movie is an uneven one starring comedian Amy Schumer and Hollywood’s own, the truly wonderful Goldie Hawn making her silver-screen comeback after a 15 year hiatus. It’s one that has some decent-enough ingredients but the overall combination plays out like a holiday in hell.

This film is mostly a vehicle for Schumer who is also a producer here. She stars as Emily Middleton, a self-obsessed and obnoxious, mid-thirties loser. Emily is newly dumped (by a funny Randall Park) and unemployed. Too bad she also has an exotic South American holiday for two planned. The tickets are non-refundable and when she cannot convince any of her fake Facebook friends to come along for the ride, she pushes her mother into the role of vacation partner.

Goldie Hawn plays Emily’s overly-protective mother, Linda in a role that could have been played by virtually any actress in Hollywood that was old enough. Linda cares for her two adult children (including her nerdy son, Jeffrey (Ike Barinholtz, The Mindy Project) and her menagerie of pet cats. The Linda role is mostly to play the overly-cautious and anxious straight lady foil to Schumer’s risk-taking, naïve and carefree woman who still acts like a girl, which is a darned shame given Hawn’s aptitude for great comedic timing/acting.

It’s unsurprising that this mother-daughter pair are kidnapped after Emily pushes her mother to go on a day tour with a good-looking stranger she’d picked up at a bar the night before. It’s about here that the film deteriorates from one that had been peppered with a few jokes that elicited some chuckles to some pure, absurdist mayhem. The two leading ladies are stuck in a cat and mouse escape/recapture loop with their kidnappers where people get maimed and things get more and more stupid and ridiculous (including a tapeworm scene that is plain painful to watch).

This film may have been okay if it stuck with the idea that it was a comedy caper and allowed Hawn to shine in this department. Instead, she’s relegated to playing it straight and safe while the supporting cast of Joan Cusack and Wanda Sykes are hopelessly under-utilised. The tone is all-over-the-shop where culturally insensitive swipes at South Americans (must they all be stereotypical criminals and members of drug cartels?) sit alongside a plot for a threadbare action/adventure story as well as a mother-daughter comedy and a buddy flick. In short, this film has more faces than a hundred watches.

Snatched is written by Katie Dippold (The Ghostbusters reboot) and is directed by Jonathan Levine (Warm Bodies). Like Schumer herself, it attempts to the push the boundaries of good taste and political correctness and it does so through a bunch of “comedy” hijinks. The problem is that the proceedings are so forced and exaggerated that it feels like a comedy sketch that has been stretched out to what feels like a long 97 minutes. Snatched or “Botched” or “Stretched” is ultimately a comedic film where you can leave you brain at the door for one altogether stupid romp, but it’s also a shame that this opportunity was wasted and that the plot feels needlessly trite and patched.


Snatched is now playing in Australian cinemas.