Even comedy veteran Goldie Hawn can’t add life to this not-quite-cooked mother-daughter road-trip comedy. Rating: 2 stars out of 4.
“Snatched” is one of those movies that feels like a rough draft of itself. A few more rewrites, a few more laughs, a little (well, a lot) more attention, and maybe it would have been an amusing summer comedy. But nobody, starting with director Jonathan Levine (“50/50”) and screenwriter Katie Dippold (“Ghostbusters,” “The Heat”), seems to have been particularly invested in this wan mother-daughter road trip, and “Snatched” eventually just sort of fizzles away, like a spilled drink in the sun.
Too bad: Goldie Hawn, in her first movie since 2002’s “The Banger Sisters,” deserves better. She plays Linda, divorced mother of Emily (Amy Schumer) and Jeffrey (Ike Barinholtz), who lives a quiet, cautious life devoted to her cats and her tchotchkes until Emily — who’s just been dumped by her boyfriend (a funny Randall Park) — talks her into taking a trip to Ecuador. There, Emily meets a man who isn’t who he seems, and both Emily and Linda get kidnapped, and eventually there’s a tapeworm involved. (Points for originality — at least it wasn’t a bathroom scene — but still, ugh.)
Schumer, in pretty much the same role she had in “Trainwreck,” reminds us here that she’s a comedian, rather than a comic actor; there’s just not much to this character on the page, and Schumer isn’t able to fill in the blanks. Hawn, however, was once a master of this sort of thing, and “Snatched” is full of little moments where she almost transcends the material. “Everyone knows you need two years to plan a vacation!” Linda blurts to Emily, hearing the initial invitation, and what’s funny is that Hawn makes us believe that Linda believes it. Later — after fleeing kidnappers and realizing they’re lost in a strange country under a tropical sun — Linda lets loose her mother-wrath on her daughter with the words, “EMILY LOUISE!” It’s such a mom moment of truth (the middle name, hauled out to indicate a special transgression) and it feels so real for a second you wonder if Hawn improvised it. Maybe not, but what a gift to make us think so.
Movie Review ★★
‘Snatched,’ with Amy Schumer, Goldie Hawn, Ike Barinholtz, Joan Cusack, Wanda Sykes. Directed by Jonathan Levine, from a screenplay by Katie Dippold. 96 minutes. Rated R for crude sexual content, brief nudity and language throughout. Several theaters.