Yes, the title of Snatched is a double entendre, and yes, it tells you most of what you need to know about the movie’s aspirations.
They are to provide a showcase for Amy Schumer’s Trainwreck persona, which again makes the case that, on screen, liberated women should be free to be as uninhibited as men – when Schumer does an exceedingly thorough hand-towel washup in the ladies' room, or breaks wind, women break ground.
Trainwreck was a rom com, Snatched a female buddy comedy pitched to Mother’s Day (you might want to stick with FTD). Schumer plays a young woman in disarray (she loses job and boyfriend in the first five minutes), and so must find someone to accompany her on a trip to Ecuador.
Enter mom, Goldie Hawn, and you have the promise of a clash of intergenerational female titans – the fizzy, flower-power girl of the '60s and '70s, and the bawdy, fearless Schumer.
This leads to a moment that knocks the movie off its feet for a moment -- Schumer's visiting home, finding an old scrapbook, leafing through photos of premarriage mother to see a fun-loving free spirit, captured in Polaroids from long-ago travels.
This serves the plot – daughter needs to persuade mom to recover that lost part of herself and go to Ecuador. But it also wallops viewers of a certain age – vintage Hawn photos remind us of the days when she overthrew the male domain of movies armed with nothing more than long lashes and a laugh. I don’t remember Walter Matthau in Cactus Flower (her Oscar win nearly 50 years ago), but I remember Hawn.
That light still shines in Snatched, when given a chance. The first half of the movie allows Hawn to back-and-forth with Schumer in scenes that show a mother’s passive-aggressive doting, a daughter who both needs it and resents it. There’s more comedy in Hawn overapplying suntan lotion to Schumer than in most of the rest of the film.
Then they’re kidnapped, and Snatched becomes an action comedy that showcases Schumer’s knack for physical shtick, and affirms what comedy has become in the modern era -- Schumer loses control of her bowels, coughs up a tapeworm, and we are left to wonder if this is really an emancipated step up from playing mistress to Matthau.
Most of the second-half laughs come from ancillary sources. Christopher Meloni has a funny cameo as a jungle adventurer who is not what he seems. Scene-stealer Ike Barinholtz plays Schumer's nerd-agoraphobe brother, who must leave the house to assist in the rescue of his mother and sister. And Bashir Salahuddin is amusing in an escalating cameo as an officious State Department bureaucrat.
Throw in Wanda Sykes with cargo shorts and fanny pack, and you’ve got a movie that runs a merciful, and mostly painless, 90 minutes. Two of those are Schumer and Hawn in an out-of-character prologue, thanking the audience for paying to see the movie in theaters. It’s thoughtful, but Hawn must be wondering when – and why -- outreach became part of the gig.