Considering her status as a comedy icon spanned four decades, from her start on the 1960s TV sketch-comedy series “Laugh-In” through her last movie “The Banger Sisters” in 2002, it’s surprising that Goldie Hawn chose to walk away from acting and drop off the pop culture radar for the past 15 years. It’s nearly as surprising that she chose the often crass and lowbrow new comedy “Snatched” as her comeback film, although the movie gives her the chance to reach the generation of viewers she missed out on by teaming her with current comedy superstar Amy Schumer.    

“Snatched” pairs the two as mother and daughter, with Schumer playing an aimless woman named Emily, whose laziness and bad attitude cause her to get fired from her job and dumped by her boyfriend in the same day. The breakup comes just as the couple was supposed to go on a nonrefundable vacation to Ecuador, and Emily has burned so many bridges with friends that she can’t find anyone else to travel with her.

Emily’s mom, Linda, has largely drifted into her senior years with a lost spark for living. Her agoraphobic loser son Jeffrey (Ike Barinholtz) sponges off her completely, and she constantly interferes in Emily’s life. But when Emily finds an old photo album filled with images and mementos of her mom’s vibrantly adventurous younger days before motherhood, she invites her along in the hopes that she can help revive her spirits.

Once at their resort, however, Linda refuses to snap out of her depression, choosing to read trashy novels while a bored Emily meets a suspiciously good-looking British man named James (Tom Bateman) at the bar. After a wild night of partying, Tom invites Emily out for a day trip into the jungle, and Emily convinces Linda to come along.

The trip takes a disastrous turn when Tom’s truck is smashed into by another truck in a backwater village and the two ladies wake up in a cell to find they’re being held for ransom by a shady criminal named Morgado (Oscar Jaenada). After a ridiculous escape, they find that they have to get themselves to the nearest US embassy in Bogota, Colombia, if they ever hope to get rescued.

That journey is marked by a series of odd encounters with lazy or confused State Department workers by phone and in-person misadventures with a village doctor and an American jungle guide (Christopher Meloni) whom Emily and Linda soon realize is insane. They also have to contend with two other female travelers (Wanda Sykes and Joan Cusack) who keep interfering with their plans but turn out to have some unique skills.

While all these hijinks should have resulted in an inventive and funny film, the script by Katie Dippold — who proved she could write a hit female-driven action-comedy with 2013’s “The Heat” — is extremely uneven. “Snatched” opens strongly as it details Emily’s comically pathetic life, but she soon becomes more annoying than amusing, and director Jonathan Levine’s odd pacing causes the jungle scenes to alternate between high comic energy and other moments that are obvious padding.

Strangely, once the opening minutes focused on Schumer’s disastrous daily life pass, the film’s funniest moments are provided by its oddball supporting characters, particularly Barinholtz and Meloni. The grossest scene, in which a village doctor comes up with an unpleasant means of eradicating a tapeworm that Schumer acquired in the jungle, is admittedly funny yet cringe-inducing, but viewers will likely not feel proud of themselves afterward for laughing.

Hawn manages to land some sporadic laughs and also has a couple of solid serious moments as Linda admits her disappointments in life, and Schumer works her klutzy-loser persona well for the most part. Ultimately, though, viewers may wish they had snatched the opportunity to see another film.    Grade: C

Capsule Reviews


Stars: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Kurt Russell, Michael Rooker

Length: 136 minutes

Directed by: James Gunn

Rating: PG-13

The sequel to the quirky 2014 superhero smash finds the ragtag band of antiheroes dealing with family issues beneath all the laughs and action, as Kurt Russell shows up as a god named Ego, claiming to be Peter Quill’s (Pratt) long-lost father. Whether his intentions are noble is a big question, Gamora (Saldana) has to contend with her evil sister as well. Punchier and funnier, the film defines swagger. Grade: A


Stars: Emma Watson, Tom Hanks, Patton Oswalt

Length: 110 minutes

Directed by: James Ponsoldt

Rating: PG-13

“The Circle” follows a young woman (Watson), who thinks she’s hit the break of a lifetime getting hired by a giant Google-like company led by a seemingly benevolent guru (Tom Hanks). She rises quickly when she offers to let a webcam be attached to her at all times, not realizing consequences are coming. Poorly paced and saddled with a truly terrible performance by Watson, this is a huge dud. Grade: D


Stars: Rosario Dawson, Katherine Heigl

Length: 100 minutes

Directed by: Denise DiNovi

Rating: R

This alleged thriller about an abused woman (Dawson) hiding her troubled past from her fiance when she changes towns to live with him and his daughter, and his too-perfect ex-wife (Heigl) out to ruin their relationship, is wall-to-wall ridiculous, with Dawson overwrought and Heigl a total cliche. It’s a Lifetime network movie with the audacity to charge for tickets and totally forgettable. Grade: F


Stars: Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Charlize Theron, Kurt Russell

Length: 136 minutes

Directed by: F. Gary Gray

Rating: PG-13

The eighth film in the “Fast and Furious” franchise is also the first to arrive fully without original star Paul Walker as Brian, leaving a key level of humanity out and resulting in mostly mayhem throughout. Loud and frenetic as always, the wheels are starting to come off with  a near total lapse in logic and Charlize Theron is utterly wasted in her role as this edition’s villain, a super-hacker named Cipher. Grade: D


Stars: Michael Caine, Alan Arkin, Morgan Freeman

Length: 96 minutes

Directed by: Zach Braff

Rating: PG-13

This remake of the 1979 George Burns/Art Carney heist comedy follows three lifelong friends who suddenly learn that their former employer has ended their pension fund, leading to their robbing the bank that stores the millions. A fun caper with the three Oscar-winning veteran actors displaying sterling chemistry and an underlying reminder that society needs to treat its elderly with compassion. Grade: B