Goldie fever

“Don’t take it out on me, Goldie. I didn’t write the damn movie.”

“Don’t take it out on me, Goldie. I didn’t write the damn movie.”

Fifteen years after her last movie (the terrible The Banger Sisters), Goldie Hawn has been coaxed back onto the big screen opposite Amy Schumer in Snatched. While it’s great to have her back, it would’ve been super great had the movie been totally worth her time.

Hawn and Schumer play Linda and Emily, mother and daughter, in what amounts to some decent dirty jokes, some dumb dirty jokes, and a lot of flat jokes powered by a plot with no real sense of purpose. The comic duo work hard to make it all a bit of fun, but they are ultimately taken down by a film that aspires to mediocrity.

When Emily is dumped by her rocker boyfriend (the always funny Randall Park), she has no traveling partner for her upcoming, non-refundable trip to Ecuador. In steps Linda, a crazy cat lady mom who barely ever leaves the house. Just like that, the two wind up sleeping in a king bed in a lavish resort, with Emily constantly taking selfies to impress her Facebook friends, and Linda covered up with scarves by the pool.

After Emily meets a hot British guy (Tom Bateman), she ultimately winds up on a sightseeing trip with mom along for the ride. Mom and daughter wind up kidnapped and held for ransom, with nobody but their nerd son/brother (Ike Barinholtz) to save their asses.

Director Jonathan Levine (50/50) isn’t afraid to take things to mighty dark places—Emily’s attempts to free her and mom from their captors has a body count—and the film earns its R-rating with raunchy humor (Schumer’s specialty). Some of the gags are good, including a bit involving a scorpion, an ill-fated attempt to swing on a vine, and a tongueless former special ops soldier (Joan Cusack) flipping through the air like Spider-Man.

Hawn and Schumer make for a convincing mommy-daughter combo, and Snatched has its worth for putting the two in a movie together. They rise above the material often enough to make the film somewhat forgivable, especially if you are a fan of both. (And, really, why wouldn’t you be?)

The problem with Snatched is that a scenario of two women being kidnapped is about as unfunny as you can get for starters, and writer Katie Dippold (who co-wrote the awful Ghostbusters reboot) doesn’t come up with a series of events that feels original. Like the Ghostbusters movie before it, Snatched drops some comedy mega-stars into a played-out plot built on swampland and expects the whole thing to stay afloat given the screen talent employed.

They get a few good laughs but not enough to cancel out the creatively barren dreariness of the story. What they wind up doing is sort of neutralizing the movie, making it a little less dark than a straight kidnapping caper. The resultant vibe is one of flatness.

Now, given the relative failure of this endeavor, I would hope Goldie Hawn doesn’t get discouraged by it. Let’s hope this movie is the first of many that see one of the greats return to relatively steady work. Truth is, she still has it, and she manages to make a lot of potentially stale moments in the film earn at least a chortle. It’s a weird thing to ponder that she’s been away for a decade-and-a-half, because her timing is spot on.

As for Schumer, she has a way with gross-out humor that allows you to keep rooting for her the grosser she gets. She’s just as funny as Hawn here, and it was an inspired idea to put the two together in a movie.

Leaving Snatched, my general feeling was “Yeah, I just saw that,” and not much beyond. Happy as heck to see Goldie again, and I enjoy the Schumer shtick to an extent, but Snatched feels more like something for Sandler and his Netflix cronies than a vehicle for the return of Goldie Hawn.