Review: 'Snatched' Starring Amy Schumer And Goldie Hawn

Every year on Mother's Day weekend, Hollywood offers up at least something you can bring dear ol' mom to, in lieu of the flowers you probably should have bought. This year that offering is Snatched, and if the title has you thinking this might be a little bit raunchy...well, you're kinda right. It does have the R-rated, controversial, always saying something wrong in public comedienne Amy Schumer, who is back in a mild variation of her Trainwreck persona. But the big draw is the return of Goldie Hawn to the big screen in her first movie since the unfortunately-titled The Banger Sisters.

If you enjoy Snatched at all it will be for one of two reasons, possibly both: you either really like Amy Schumer and her brand of comedy, or...well, okay that's the only reason. The film itself is basically a notch above Hot Pursuit, that dreadful Reese Witherspoon/Sofia Vergara chase comedy from a thousand years ago (it was really like two years ago but it felt ancient) that you already forgot about. This one isn't quite so forgettable, as it pairs two hilariously funny women at different stages of their career, with one clearly inspired by the other. The Schumer of today was damn close to the Hawn of yesteryear. You wish they had better material to work with, but they make the best of it and find warmth and heart in some unexpected places.

The credit for what emotional depth there is goes to screenwriter Katie Dippold (The Heat, Ghostbusters), who based the central relationship on the one she shares with her mom. In the first five minutes, the directionless, bawdy Emily (Schumer, naturally) loses her boyfriend and her crappy retail job, which she just started and was already planning to take a South American vacation from. Unfortunately, her boyfriend was supposed to go, and none of her friends want to, so she ropes in her doting mom Linda (Hawn) into joining her. How it happens is the first moment when you realize this just won't be Schumer farting and making jokes about her unconventional body type. It's when Emily thumbs through an old photobook and sees Linda when she was young and adventurous, a woman living a life, not just sitting around feeding the cats. Emily has to help her mother recapture her youth, and find a reason to wake up in the morning. It's a nice touch.

Once they get to Ecuador the laughs are hit-or-miss, and mostly involve crude physical acts by Schumer, some slightly offensive racial gags, and mother/daughter sparring. Emily wants to party, but mom just wants to cover up ("Why are you dressed like Powder?", Emily asks in one great moment), read her books, and apply copious amounts of suntan lotion. When Emily's friskiness with a handsome stranger gets them both kidnapped and held for ransom, they must put their familial grievances aside to find a way home. On the way we'll get to see Schumer's knack for physical humor, whether she's engaging in the most WASPy capoeira ever, vomiting up a tapeworm, or losing control of her bowels. Some of it is pretty funny, and Schumer commits to everything, but this isn't Dippold's most highbrow screenplay, that's for sure. That said, she and Schumer are on the same page when it comes to mining uniquely feminine experiences for big laughs. A perfect example is a scene where Emily goes to the bathroom for a quick cleanup before a night out with her new man. After splashing some water under her pits, and then down below, the door swings open and catches her in the most embarrassing of positions. Hawn is also great but in a more subtle way. She and her Banger Sisters co-star Susan Sarandon are playing the same type of helicopter mom character now, and both are fantastic at it. There's a perfect little moment Hawn shares with Schumer when they are both told, in no uncertain terms, that they don't have to worry about being kidnapped and sold into sex slavery because they are 1) too fat, and 2), too old. The look on Hawn's face is priceless.

Very nearly running away with the entire film are the hilarious interactions between Ike Barinholtz as Emily's agoraphobic brother and the State Department agent (Bashir Salahuddin) he repeatedly harasses to do something about his family's disappearance. The escalating tension in their conversations are a nice diversion from the main plot, which is seriously thin, anyway. Christopher Meloni scores by playing another wacko supporting character, this time a local guide/adventurer who isn't all he's cracked up to be. Overstaying their welcome are Wanda Sykes and Joan Cusack as "platonic" friends and potential rescuers since one is a former Black Ops agent. Go find another movie to hijack, ladies.

There's a surprising amount of action and violence, all well-staged by director Jonathan Levine, a filmmaker whose diversity within the comedy genre remains impressive. But this movie is Schumer and Hawn's, and I don't know if we'll ever see them pair up again. They should, though, because they clearly inspire one another to be funnier, even when the jokes aren't always worth the effort.

Rating: 3 out of 5