Comedian Amy Schumer’s notoriety for being brutally funny during Comedy Central’s various Celebrity Roasts paved the way for her own sketch comedy show, Inside Amy Shumer. Between that and her burgeoning stand-up act, she eventually gained the confidence to write her own star-turn movie vehicle, Trainwreck in 2015, which was anything but-grossing more than 140 million dollars worldwide. Since then, she’s only gotten bigger, and her show is entering its fifth season. So it’s no surprise she’d head back to the big screen eventually, but it’s surprising that she’d allow someone else behind the wheel.
Her latest vehicle Snatched was written by Katie Dippold who has penned decent (The Heat) and divisive (Ghostbusters 2016) material; but whatever success either project enjoyed was due largely to Dippold scripting to the strengths of her cast members. That’s what makes her decision to largely waste Goldie Hawn as the straight man to Schumer’s usual shtick so confusing. They play Linda and Emily Middleton respectively, a mother-daughter pair who are kidnapped while on vacation in Ecuador, with hijinks and life-lessons in tow.
Hawn is no stranger to comedy, but here, most of her few comedic lines are in the trailer. The same might be said for supporting actress Joan Cusak, except she’s given no lines at all since she plays a mute. Although Cusak has been funny without virtually any lines in the past (most notably as “Geek Girl #1” in John Hughes’ Sixteen Candles in 1984). When you have Joan Cusak on your payroll, you give her some lines. At least Dippold gave Wanda Sykes plenty to do in her supporting role, and she created a subplot involving Schumer’s onscreen brother, Jeffrey (Ike Barinholtz) that actually ends up being well-worth its screen time. Sadly, the film doesn’t follow-up with any of these supporting characters or plots in its final minutes.
This is a shame since the timing and chemistry between Schumer, Barinholtz and Hawn is great, and the plot allows each of their characters to stretch and learn something. But the film is uneven and inconsistent, with too-easy gags intermingled with mixed messages about American elitism. There’s nothing here (or in King Arthur: Legend of the Sword) to unseat Marvel’s latest superhero installment from its box office throne this weekend, but hopefully there’s enough potential for a sequel that takes advantage of its comedic assets rather than undermine them.
Rated R for crude sexual content, brief nudity, and language throughout