Sometime after her popularity exploded during the first season of her show, Amy Schumer became not just the most popular female comedian in years, but also a feminist icon almost overnight. She fought back against misogynist culture by not allowing the typical body shaming of the Hollywood elite to change her looks, and her sex-positive stand-up material trumped any attempt at slut shaming.
Over the last year or two, Schumer has become a bit of a one-trick pony. In the same way that Lena Dunham skewers East Coast white privilege, Schumer punches lower by basically playing a selfish, white trash garbage human in her movies and stand-up. Every punchline celebrates her love of sex, food, selfies and everything in between without ever trying to be likable or relatable. This brand of humor worked well for "Trainwreck," but starting with this year's "The Leather Special" stand-up show and continuing into "Snatched," her attempts at being shocking have become boring and predictable.
"Snatched" tells the story of Emily Middleton (Schumer), a lazy and unsatisfied woman dumped by her boyfriend a week before going on an nonrefundable trip to Ecuador. Since she's basically insufferably annoying, she can't get anyone else to go with her on the trip, so she invites her mildly estranged and super-cautious mother, Linda (Goldie Hawn), to join the trip to the South American resort. In short order they get kidnapped and become lost in the jungle on a life-affirming and bonding adventure.
Schumer follows all of her worst instincts in this film, playing up the ugly American cliché instead of showing some much needed humanity. Even when she tries to have a "Very Special Serious Moment," it plays as false and disingenuous. I'm starting to think either Schumer has become an acquired taste or she's lost whatever bit of originality she had on "Inside Amy Schumer." It's like she's become a self-parody of the character that made her famous.
Hawn hasn't acted in a live-action movie in 15 years and her presence here is lovely. She looks beautiful and still has the effortless charm and intelligent gleam in her eyes that made her one of America's sweethearts. Hawn and Schumer have a wonderful mother/daughter chemistry, and if they were working from a stronger script then the movie might have been a delight.
Director Jonathan Levine has been responsible for several criminally underrated gems such as "50/50" and "All the Boys Love Mandy Lane" and he brings a strong visual signature to the film, but it can't carry Katie Dippold's threadbare script. I laughed twice throughout the entire film and even then it was reluctantly and with a little shame.
Schumer does have a wonderful comic voice and it's one that's important in the male-centric world of comedy. If she can hone that voice to become essential once again, then comedy will be all the better for it. As it stands, she needs to find a new vehicle that doesn't require her to be a garbage person for the fourth or fifth time in a row.
Dir. Jonathan Levine
Old Mill Stadium 16 & IMAX. Sisters Movie House.