Snatched review: Goldie Hawn and Amy Schumer are so wasted it’s not even funny

This mildly racist, tonally bizarre farce fails miserably to use the talents of its leads

Going south: Goldie Hawn and Amy Schumer in Snatched. Photograph: 20th Century Fox

Film Title: Snatched

Director: Jonathan Levine

Starring: Amy Schumer, Goldie Hawn, Wanda Sykes, Joan Cusack, Ike Barinholtz, Tom Bateman, Oscar Jaenada

Genre: Comedy

Running Time: 90 min

Tue, May 16, 2017, 11:15

   

A comedy exploiting the contrasting talents of Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn would be a very good idea indeed. Maybe, someone other than Jonathan Levine, director of 50/50 and The Wackness, could have directed such a thing.

This mildly racist, tonally bizarre farce fails miserably to make the best of either actor.  Schumer is allowed to indulge her infuriating habit of repeating the punchlines of bad jokes – now as a mutter, now as a growl – in a hopeless effort to bully us into laughter.

More unforgivably, Hawn is offered a role that gives her nothing to do at inordinate length. She is in virtually every scene, but is almost never positioned behind a decent joke. Any actor of similar age could play the role equally competently. And this is Goldie Hawn, for Pete’s sake.

Emily Middleton (Schumer) matches the sort of archetype that too many hurried writers make of women from Amy’s generation: a social media-obsessed drifter who can’t hang on to a decent man. Her mother Linda (Hawn) is an even less imaginatively drawn: now alone and withdrawn, she lives tolerably well with her cats and her agoraphobic son Jeffrey.

Astonishingly, that last character, played by a sleepy Ike Barinholtz, is the laziest creation of the bunch. If you guessed that his obsession with geek culture has inspired him to learn Klingon, then reward yourself with a glass of Romulan Ale.

After breaking up with her hipster boyfriend (in a scene that relies heavily on repetition of the Trumpian euphemism for female genitalia), Emily finds herself saddled with a spare booking for a holiday in Ecuador.

Mother is persuaded and they have a lovely time appreciating the rich culture of that South American locale. I’m joking, of course. Grossly caricatured villains kidnap them and a ransom is demanded from Jeffrey.

Snatched (ha ha, that title!) offers an uncomfortable mix of styles and moods. Too many scenes feel improvised in the meandering style of Judd Apatow. The kidnapping plot is too violent for an otherwise light-hearted film. A gross-out scene involving a tape worm looks to have been drawn from an East European avant-garde horror film.

Still, at least the film is short. I dread to think what was left on the cutting room floor.