Though some very funny, women-led comedies — including “Bridesmaids,” “The Heat,” “Spy,” “Trainwreck,” “Pitch Perfect” and even last year’s acclaimed but destroyed-by-social-media “Ghostbusters” — have filled movie theaters in recent years, they can’t all be winners.
“Snatched,” starring Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn, is a flat-out dud.
It does contain a few minor giggles, mostly throwaway lines or momentary bits of slapstick, but because of its ill-conceived characters and situations, it’s a bore.
Schumer plays Emily Middleton, a mostly useless grown woman who can’t keep a job and hopes to hitch her wagon to her rock star boyfriend (Randall Park). Unfortunately, he’d rather spend his time with groupies.
Now she’s stuck with a non-refundable vacation package to Ecuador for two. After some soul searching, she decides to take her worrywart mother Linda (Goldie Hawn).
At the resort, Emily is picked up by a handsome, well-traveled foreigner, and soon mother and daughter find themselves kidnapped by local gangsters.
They escape, are chased, and are aided intermittently by adventurer Roger Simmons (Christopher Meloni), former special ops agent Barb (Joan Cusack), and Barb’s platonic friend Ruth (Wanda Sykes). Cusack and Sykes provide a large percentage of the movie’s few laughs.
Ike Barinholtz co-stars as Emily’s agoraphobic brother, who tries to help from home.
The trouble is that Schumer’s character really is a selfish, awful person whose too-little-too-late redemption comes when she helps some locals carry water.
In essence, she has discovered the female version of the most annoying characters in horrible Mike Myers, Rob Schneider and Adam Sandler comedies.
Hawn, who has made a long, lovable career out of playing free-spirited ditzes, is an uptight complainer here, constantly saying “I told you so.” It’s no fun.
Inexplicably written by Katie Dippold (“The Heat,” “Ghostbusters”) and directed by Jonathan Levine (“50/50,” “Warm Bodies”), the movie simply struggles to fill the time.
It also goes too far into danger and violence; it crosses a line when characters are actually killed, killing laughs as well.
The R-rated comedy tries to be as outrageous and as daring as Schumer seems to be –she’s not afraid to look terrible — but it takes too many dumb, easy potshots, including a few culturally insensitive ones.
Schumer will no doubt bounce back from a misfire like “Snatched,” but if this was anyone’s idea of paying tribute to Hawn, an icon of comic acting, they should try again.
Starring Amy Schumer, Goldie Hawn, Christopher Meloni, Ike Barinholtz, Joan Cusack, Wanda Sykes
Written by Katie Dippold
Directed by Jonathan Levine
Running time 1 hour, 31 minutes