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Is Snatched as Good as Goldie?

May 13, 2017


Lately, I’ve been complaining about the buffalo herd of critics on Rotten Tomatoes getting it wrong on movies like the underrated The Zookeeper’s Wife, Going in Style and The Dinner and the overrated The Lovers and Personal Shopper. Now they’ve done it again, giving Snatched a measly 37% fresh rating. Which may explain why there were only two other people in the suburban New Jersey theater where I caught a rainy-day matinee. Never mind the other reviews: This gave me more belly laughs than any Hollywood comedy since, well, Amy Schumer’s last one, Trainwreck.

True, she basically plays the same character again: a narcissistic hedonist who learns to be less selfish. But you know what? She’s still funny. And rather than a romantic comedy, this is a mom-daughter buddy movie, with Goldie Hawn taking her first big-screen role since 2002’s The Banger Sisters. She’s an overprotective homebody who reluctantly agrees to accompany her freshly dumped daughter on a vacation to an Ecuadorian resort. While she’s essentially playing the straight woman to Amy, Goldie’s an old pro when it comes to comedy, and she expertly sets up her co-stars physical and verbal gags after the duo get kidnapped for not entirely apparent reasons (one of the few weak spots in the script by Katie Dippold, who thankfully comes closer to her gut-busting work on The Heat than to her toothless reboot of Ghostbusters).

Schumer and Hawn generously share the comic spotlight with an estimable ensemble of scene snatchers. It’s a refreshingly diverse lot as well, with Fresh Off the Boat‘s Randall Park as the hilariously shallow rocker who breaks up with Schumer; former Late Night with Jimmy Fallon standout Bashir Salahuddin as a short-tempered State Dept. employee; Broad City‘s charming Arturo Castro as a doctor who treats Schumer for a tapeworm in the movie’s most uproarious set-piece; and Wanda Sykes and Joan Cusack as platonic pals who use their special skills to stage a rescue mission. Plus, Ike Barinholtz and Chris Meloni score big yuks as Hawn’s annoying agoraphobic son and a less-than-intrepid jungle explorer, respectively.

So why didn’t more critics like Snatched? My hunch is it’s part of a pattern in which reviewers wildly praise whomever’s considered “new” and “hot” (as Schumer was when Trainwreck came out), then tear them down with the old “sophomore slump” critique. All the better to build them back up again with a predictable “comeback” piece. Expect to read that story come October when Schumer “gets serious” (another irresistible angle for pop-culture writers) in the PTSD drama Thank You for Your Service. In the meantime, see Snatched now and thank me later.

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