dir Jonathan Levine
scr Katie Dippold
prd Paul Feig, Peter Chernin, Jessie Henderson, Jenno Topping
with Amy Schumer, Goldie Hawn, Wanda Sykes, Joan Cusack, Ike Barinholtz, Christopher Meloni, Bashir Salahuddin, Oscar Jaenada, Tom Bateman, Arturo Castro, Pedro Haro, Randall Park
release US 12.May.17, UK 19.May.17
17/US Fox 1h30
Get us out of here: Hawn and Schumer

sykes cusack barinholtz
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
Snatched The plot may be lazy, but there are enough laughs in this goofy movie to make it worth the ticket price. The main selling point is the pairing of Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn as mother and daughter, and it's surprising how well their distinct comedy skills complement each other. So even if the story feels so thin that it's barely there, this is an enjoyable guilty pleasure.

After breaking up with her boyfriend (Park), Emily (Schumer) asks her mother Linda (Hawn) to take his place on holiday to a five-star resort on Ecuador's coast. There they meet Ruth (Sykes) and her "platonic" ex-military friend Barb (Cusack), who warn them about the danger of kidnapping. Sure enough, as Emily flirts with the sexy James (Bateman), they are grabbed by Colombian criminal Morgado (Jaenada). They quickly escape into the Amazon, helped by arrogant explorer Roger (Meloni). Meanwhile, Emily's brother (Barinholtz) is hounding a diplomat (Salahuddin) to find his missing mother and sister.

Screenwriter Dippold (The Heat) seems to have abandoned her sharp storytelling skills. Or perhaps Schumer and Hawn ignored the script, did whatever they wanted, and then director Levine (The Night Before) rescued it in the edit. Whatever, the film is little more than a series of wacky set pieces strung together by a ridiculous narrative. Some mother-daughter depth is glimpsed here and there, but never goes anywhere. And the Americans-abroad thing is abandoned early on.

What's left is Schumer and Hawn, which is quite a lot. Schumer takes the scatological approach, poking fun at her femininity while astutely skewering idiotic attitudes. Hawn creates a properly rounded character while diving headlong into the physical comedy. Her timing is impeccable, and she effortlessly steals every scene from Schumer. Meanwhile, Sykes and Cusack are hilarious in more cartoonish roles, while Barinholtz and Meloni camp it up as exaggerated pastiche characters.

Despite the feeble plotting, the movie is very funny, with a continual stream of gags that keep us laughing. Sure, there's also a sense that the filmmakers are straining to be rude while at the same time being terrified of any real sexuality. And any subtextual elements are lost along the way, leaving a simplistic but rather sweet depiction of a parent and child discovering that they're now friends too. That may be enough for a movie that's little more than mindless silliness. But some extra oomph would have made it a classic.

cert 15 themes, language, violence, innuendo 11.May.17

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© 2017 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall