Emily Middleton (Amy Schumer: Inside Amy Schumer) is a train wreck. Fired from her retail job and dumped by her boyfriend, she’s reduced to posting selfies on Instagram. Her digital success has not earned her friends, so her only willing companion on a non-refundable trip to Ecuador is her mother, Linda (Goldie Hawn: The Banger Sisters), the one person who has never told her no.
A bit of a shut-in who still takes care of Emily’s agoraphobic man-child of a brother, Linda reluctantly agrees.
Emily’s delight gives way to annoyance at her mother’s overprotectiveness and prudish travel rules. Convinced an adventure will chill her mother out, Emily forces her to experience “the real Ecuador.”
They are promptly kidnapped.
Alone and terrified, mother and daughter team up to overcome their captors, the unforgiving jungle and their own strife. Are they doomed to be a cautionary tale for other tourists?
Crude, funny and shallow, Snatched is much like Emily’s character. Director Jonathan Levine (The Night Before) pushes for laughs that are increasingly outlandish. A slapstick sequence involving a tapeworm would be more at home in an Adam Sandler film.
Schumer has made a career of playing drunken messes, and her role here is no exception. It’s a funny character, but one that becomes successively frustrating the more outrageous her antics become. In her previous film, Schumer had something to say about the pressure women feel to fulfil a “cool girl” archetype. In Snatched, she has nothing to say.
Hawn is a bright spot as Schumer’s uptight mom. She gamely throws herself into even the most ridiculous gag, wringing laughs out of some truly lame material. It’s good to see the comic legend back on the screen, even if she deserves better material.
The movie’s real problem is its portrayal of Latin populations. The native people Emily and her mother encounter are either maniacal criminals or simple folk. It’s an insulting portrayal and one that reeks of racism.
Cultural ignorance and appropriation aside, Snatched lands many of its jokes. When Schumer rambles like the world’s most awkward fish out of water, it’s downright fun.
Fair Comedy • R • 91 mins.