Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn's dream pairing in Snatched is an Evolution of Funny Women poster waiting to happen. You won't find a missing link between them.
At this still-early stage of her career, Schumer's boldness reflects modern femininity as Hawn's ditz did in her Laugh-In days and first movie roles beyond. A bikini shimmy then is a drunken twerk today, a foundation for a new level of comedy by and for women. Hawn got classier; Schumer has time.
As such, casting them as mother and daughter in Snatched is a no-brainer, bordering on DNA testing. It's also the most inspired thing about Jonathan Levine's otherwise ordinary caper. Snatched amuses because of who's delivering the jokes rather than what the jokes are. It isn't a Trainwreck by any means.
Schumer plays Emily Middleton, a variation on her me-first, sexually-forward stand-up persona. Emily's romantic trip to Ecuador is spoiled when her boyfriend (Randall Park) peaces out, leaving a spot to fill and no one willing to spend time with her.
Not even her mother, Linda, (Hawn) wants to go until learning the trip is nonrefundable. Linda remains a helicopter mom whom Emily can't ground, slathering on sunblock and frowning at her daughter's binge drinking. Katie Dippold's screenplay gets enough right about these characters; it's the scenario they're plopped into that's underwritten.
Emily's flirtation with a handsome stranger (Tom Bateman) leads to the women being kidnapped by sweaty, swarthy stereotypes. They escape; the chase is on but the energy is off. Snatched proceeds through close calls that never feel tense and sidekick distractions, some very good (Wanda Sykes, Joan Cusack), others not so much (Ike Barinholtz as Linda's agoraphobic son). Some detours aren't followed far enough, like Christopher Meloni's too-brief turn as an intrepid jungle guide aiding an escape.
Levine keeps the proceedings to a tight 91 minutes, counting skippable end credits. Yet the laughs aren't as compacted, rarely stringing together enough solid jokes to gain some reflexive traction. Get an audience laughing and they'll laugh at almost anything. Snatched tries doing it the other way around.
Nonetheless, it's a pleasure seeing Hawn back on screen after 15 years away, gamely matching Schumer f-bomb for f-bomb, her youthful "dumbness" aged to clueless senior. That twinkle lingers in Hawn's eyes at age 71, as we get a side-by-side reminder of her comedic legacy. Anyone else ready for a Private Benjamin remake with Schumer?
Contact Steve Persall at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8365. Follow @StevePersall.