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Snatched

  • Genres: Action | Comedy | Offensive
  • Director:  Jonathan Levine
  • Starring: Goldie Hawn, Amy Schumer, Ike Barinholtz, Joan Cusack
  • Runtime: 90 mins.
  • Distributor: Twentieth Century Fox
  • Rating Notes: Strong sexual references
  • IMdB link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2334871/
  • Reviewed in May 2017

This American comedy brings Goldie Hawn back to the cinema screen after 15 years. It is the first major movie role for her since “The Banger Sisters” in 2002 with Susan Sarandon.

The film tells the story of a young woman (Schumer) who persuades her cautious and conservative mother (Hawn) to accompany her on a trip to what is assumed to be an uneventful vacation to South America.

Emily Middleton (Amy Schumer) is dumped by her boyfriend on the evening before a vacation to Ecuador, South America, that she had planned to spend with him. Relationships with her boyfriend are not good, and she is shocked to hear it. He thinks she “has no direction”. However, everything has been arranged for her holiday, and Emily convinces her mother, Linda (Goldie Hawn) to accompany her in his place.

Mother and daughter don’t get along well together, but the vacation helps to resolve their differences when they are unexpectedly kidnapped by bandits and held for ransom. One night when Emily sits at a drinking bar, she signals unintentionally to a “pick-up” that she and her mother might be suitable victims. Predictably, they are taken hostage the next day. Their car crashes on a jungle road; they are imprisoned by their bandit captors; and they manage with some difficulty to escape. Most of the film is spent showing them trying to avoid being recaptured.

Amy Schumer is a contemporary comedienne who owns expertly, brash and raunchy comedy routines that typically expose her private thoughts and reflections about her failings to others. Goldie Hawn’s style of comedy comes from hysterical, laughter-tugging reactions to unexpected crises. In this movie they pair well together.

Schumer makes no attempt to upstage Hawn in any way, and both of them allow their comedy routines to be reinforced by a script that aims to deliver speedily-delivered punch lines, which suits both their styles. The two comediennes treat each other as comedy equals and they use their comic talents to score laughs off each other. Supplementing the asides, the Director of the film, Jonathan Levine, involves the comediennes in physical action comedy, and once they are kidnapped, they provide a lot of it. The action comedy, however, is loose and unrestrained.

Schumer’s comedy characteristically uses racy humour with sexual overtones, and there are some illustrations of it in this movie. She typically articulates a crisis that is about to happen (or has just happened), and Goldie Hawn characteristically responds to crises that are well on the way. The movie is filled with Schumer-style humour that provides a foil to Hawn’s typically stressed responsiveness.

There is not a great deal in the movie to communicate principled, or morally defensible lessons on how to seriously manage, or learn from, relationship tensions or conflicts – especially ones that exist between mother and daughter. The chief lesson in this movie is to let viewers know that they need to work through difficulties in relationships, try to bond to someone you care about, and learn to say “sorry”. That message is obvious, and the film pursues it without depth.

Best suited for adult fare, this film has two comediens working to show in a humorous way how fracture lines in mother-daughter relationships can be mended, or repaired. It is a pity for a film that works hard for its restricted rating (see classification Advice) to be also one that is marketed as particularly suitable for a Mother’s Day celebratory trip to the cinema.


Review by the Australian Catholic Office for Film and Broadcasting


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This is the ministry of Fr Richard Healey, pastor of St Paul’s Catholic Parish, based in Albion Park, a southern suburb of the city of Wollongong.
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