It took the better part of two decades and an Amy Schumer team-up comedy to bring Goldie Hawn back to multiplex screens. The last time we saw her in action was 2002 — the same year Tobey Maguire made his debut as Spider-Man and Kelly Clarkson won the first season of American Idol. The introduction of the iPhone was still five long years away. The atmosphere into which Snatched will launch is vastly different, and yet, most of the movie-obsessed public watched our third Peter Parker (Tom Holland) break the internet with his Lip Sync Battle performance of Rihanna’s Umbrella and rolled our eyes at the news that ABC resurrected the old reality singing staple. But neither of those things ever really left us over the past 15 years, so why is it that so long after The Banger Sisters we still find ourselves reacting with pleasant surprise when a female-led picture takes center stage? Or worse, we find ourselves forced to defend the validity of such pictures?
I don’t know. And I don’t think Goldie Hawn’s re-emergence will change those facts of the modern culture landscape. But I’d much rather ponder these questions than debate whether she’s had too much plastic surgery or ask if she’s still got it. (The only opinion that matters is her own, and of course she does.) But, we must get on to the film itself.
To my great delight, Snatched isn’t just a showcase for Goldie Hawn and Amy Schumer — though their chemistry is delightful and the latter happily brought her own unique style to the script — another dynamic duo serves as a brilliant foil to the main action. Like an unexpected hotel upgrade on an island vacation, Joan Cusack and Wanda Sykes join Schumer and Hawn in this frequently absurd, but often uproarious comedy.
Schumer stays close to her Trainwreck territory as Emily, a floundering thirty-something who gets left holding the bag on a non-refundable trip to Equador when her boyfriend breaks up with her because his band’s viral success has afforded him greener pastures. And by greener pastures I mean abundant opportunities to sleep with random women. Shook and spurred by her friends, she retreats to the waiting arms of her doting mother, Linda. Between eating all of Linda’s food and squabbling with her agoraphobic brother (Ike Barinholtz), Emily has an epiphany — her mom used to have fun, to go on adventures. Why not take her along?
Linda is, of course, reluctant at best, but off they jet. And there we have our very simple premise, selfish kid, sacrificial mom, extreme scenario that supports broad comedy AND bonding. The bones of Snatched are very basic. And a number of the segments designed to elicit laughs have a smack of desperation (looking at you tapeworm extraction sequence), but there are kernels of honesty stitched throughout the picture that render it surprisingly successful.
If anything about Snatched feels particularly on point, it’s the bizarre bond between mothers and daughters. The film captures the absurd shorthand that develops, the manner in which mom can push your buttons faster than anyone, but still remains the first person you want to run to when terrified or triumphant. For me, at least, that was enough. Get that relationship right, and the outlandish shenanigans of Sykes and Cusack are just icing on this cinematic donut.
Snatched is frivolous and fun, even if the action-adjacent premise sometimes distracts from the superior comedy to be found in the relationships and dialogue. And best of all, it unites one of Hollywood’s most interesting voices with an elusive comedy great — welcome back, Goldie.
Director: Jonathan Levine
Writer: Katie Dippold
Runtime: 1h, 37mins
Release Date: May 12, 2017
Main Image Credit: Justina Mintz-TM & © 2017 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved. Not for sale or duplication.
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