Review: Snatched (15)

Two generations of comedy royalty – Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn – are shamefully squandered in Jonathan Levine’s odd couple adventure.

Based on a misfiring screenplay by Katie Dippold, who penned the hilarious Sandra Bullock-Melissa McCarthy romp The Heat, Snatched struggles in vain to make us care about a dysfunctional mother and daughter in peril in the jungles of South America.

The tone lurches between macabre (the accidental murders of two kidnappers by shovel and harpoon gun) and toe-curling humiliation (Schumer being caught red-handed washing her undercarriage over a sink), with scant regard for the finer points of character development or plotting.

Undeniably, Levine’s romp has its bright moments, led by Joan Cusack as an acrobatic, mute ex-Special Forces operative, and Wanda Sykes as her sassy partner. However, by the time Schumer flashes one of her breasts for a cheap laugh, we know the film-makers are up the Amazon without a paddle.

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Self-absorbed, hard-partying dreamer Emily Middleton (Schumer) is unceremoniously dumped by her boyfriend shortly before a non-refundable trip to Ecuador. Unable to persuade one of her female friends to accompany her on the South American odyssey, Emily turns instead to her sensible mom. “Help me put the fun in non-refundable,” she pleads.

Linda eventually agrees to abandon her clingy grown-up son Jeffrey (Ike Barinholtz) for the cocktails and crystal-blue waters of a sun-baked resort. While the matriarch befriends fellow holidaymakers Barb (Cusack) and Ruth (Sykes), Emily sparks a boozy romance with handsome stranger James (Tom Bateman).

One night of passion leads to the kidnapping of Emily and her mother by notorious crime lord Morgado (Oscar Jaenada), who holds the women hostage for $100,000. When Jeffrey receives the ransom demand, he telephones the US State Department to co-ordinate an A-Team style rescue.

Hawn isn’t gifted a single funny line during 90 deflating minutes while Schumer continues to mine half-hearted laughs from her role as the childlike clown.

Levine’s picture careens out of control and crashes far short of Schumer’s uproarious last picture, Trainwreck. This is just a wreck.