Snatched

It might feature a choice pairing of big-screen comediennes past and present, but Snatched doesn’t play to the strengths of either of its multitalented stars.

Indeed, both Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn have their moments in this raunchy road-trip comedy about American tourists stranded in the Amazon jungle, even if the story is too thin and predictable to supplement the scattered big laughs.

The film opens with a series of setbacks for Emily (Schumer), a slacker who’s fired from her job as a store clerk and dumped by her boyfriend (Randall Park) just before their trip to South America. Saddled with nonrefundable tickets, Emily reluctantly chooses her slightly overbearing and very paranoid mother (Hawn) to join her.

What starts as a week of bonding on the beach turns sour after a local takes them on a scenic route back to their resort. They’re subsequently kidnapped and held for ransom in a remote village, causing them to confront their fears and differences in a quest for freedom.

In her second vehicle, Schumer doesn’t slide into her role as effortlessly as she did in Trainwreck, which she wrote. In this case, her mischievous shtick feels more obnoxious than endearing, although she does achieve a reasonable chemistry with Hawn, who conveys an effortless charm while returning at age 71 from a 15-year hiatus.

However, the screenplay by Katie Dippold (The Heat) emphasizes its low-brow tendencies while relying on contrived female bonding and strained intergenerational gags. The daughter is hip and adventurous, while the mom is oblivious and overcautious.

Snatched especially bogs down in the second half, once it abruptly transitions into more of a thriller about foreigners trapped in paradise. Yet since the eventual outcome is obvious, there’s never a feeling that our damsels in distress are in any real peril.

Most of the genuine amusement comes from a handful of throwaway jokes — with Schumer nailing some sardonic zingers — and periphery characters, such as Emily’s nerdy, agoraphobic brother (Ike Barinholtz) who tries to become an unlikely hero.

As directed by Jonathan Levine (50/50), the film squanders some picturesque tropical scenery — with Hawaii standing in for Ecuador and Colombia — and it won’t become a favorite of tourism officials in the region. Those involved might have gotten a free exotic vacation, but all we got was the cinematic equivalent of a lousy T-shirt.

 

Rated R, 91 minutes.