Snatched is downright silly; a goofy, somewhat offensive romp with a paper thin plot. Normally that would be grounds to bash Snatched like a hammer. I can't because the film is hilarious. I laughed like a jackal from the opening scene to the last minute. The raucous humor and breezy runtime add up to a good experience. Snatched makes no attempt to be more than light-hearted frivolity. Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn are a winning combination.
Schumer stars as Emily Middleton, a down on her luck thirty-something who's just been dumped by her boyfriend (Randall Park). She asks her doting mother, Linda (Goldie Hawn) to accompany her on a previously booked, non-refundable, trip to Ecuador. Linda has deep fears about going to South America, but wants quality time with her daughter. Fun in the sun takes a turn for the worst. Their naivete lands them in serious trouble. They are kidnapped and held for ransom by a ruthless crime lord (Oscar Janaeda).
The dynamic between Schumer and Hawn is the crux of the film. While Amy Schumer gets the majority of the laughs with her crass behavior, Hawn holds her end as the straight man, or in this case, woman. Mom loves you unconditionally, but can point out your failures with pinprick accuracy. The pair have a warmth to their relationship that adds just the right amount of sweetness.
The trailers for the film don't show much of the supporting characters. That's great because it made their contribution a welcome surprise. They add a lot of unexpected humor to the story. Emily has an agoraphobic brother (Ian Barinholtz). He's forced out of the house to help rescue his mother and sister. Every second he's on screen is a laugh riot. Joan Cusack, who has no speaking parts in he film, also delivers a torrent of chuckles with little screen time. She's half of a former special forces duo who may or may not be a lesbian couple.
Snatched has multiple issues with its narrative and portrayal of Ecuador. It jumps from scene to scene with little buildup or pre-text. The overall premise of two hapless, blonde American women bumbling through the jungle is the thinnest of threads. It has the same feel of those eighties travel comedies like Club Paradise or Hot Pursuit. South Americans may find Snatched offensive. It plays to stereotypes and mocks local culture. When the women ask if they will be sold as sex slaves, the response is no, you're both too old and wrinkled. Good for a laugh, but paints a disturbing alternative if they were "attractive".
20th Century Fox is marketing Snatched as a slightly raunchy Mother's Day comedy. That's exactly what's in store. I find it hard to believe that anyone would watch this movie and not laugh at some point. It's disjointed, but funny; a ninety-minute diversion. The runtime is absolutely key. Any longer and Snatched would be tedious. It works just enough to warrant a positive recommendation.