George C. Scott, portraying WWII general George S. Patton in the 1970 film Patton, famously opined, “Americans love a winner, and will not tolerate a loser.” I would generally concur with this sentiment, but add to it the observation that while we love winners, we also enjoy watching the mighty fall.
Enter Amy Schumer’s new movie, Snatched.
For the past two years, Amy Schumer has been winning. Previously known in entertainment industry circles as a talented, seasoned stand-up comedian, her mainstream breakthrough came in the form of the Judd Apatow-directed Trainwreck, which Schumer co-wrote and starred in.
Trainwreck was funny. It was irreverent. It pushed the envelope creatively for leading ladies. Critics loved it. Ms. Schumer was nominated for a Golden Globe. And the celebrated film made nearly $150 million at the box office.
Since that summer of 2015, Amy Schumer has rocketed to A-list celebrity status, with the Twitter/Instagram followers to prove it. She pals around with Jennifer Lawrence. She crashes the stage at awards shows. She speaks out about body image issues and is lauded by everyone from Ellen to Elon Musk for her wit, bravado and fearlessness.
If any of this describes how you feel about, or best understand, Amy Schumer, you are going to want to avoid seeing her latest effort, Snatched.
I’m not saying “this is the end” for Amy Schumer’s meteoric (and well-deserved) rise to the top of the business, but Snatched is the type of uninspired project that people might look back on years later and say, “Wait—the woman who made Trainwreck actually made a follow-up film that was a real trainwreck?”
Co-starring the previously-retired Goldie Hawn as Linda, the loopy mother of Schumer’s character (Emily), Snatched is a collection of stale comedic premises set in Hawaii. And that’s about as positive as one can get about the movie.
Emily is a thirty-something woman with few life prospects whose boyfriend dumps her on the eve of their non-refundable vacation to Ecuador. Because all of her other pals are busy raising children or going to law school, Emily asks her mom Linda to come with her so she doesn’t have to drink margaritas by herself like some loser. Emily meets a local man at the bar and while out on a day-trip to see the countryside, she and her mom are kidnapped and held for ransom in neighboring Colombia. The women escape, supposed hilarity ensues, lessons are learned, and an inordinate amount of jokes about female sexual and reproductive organs are trotted out at regular intervals in lieu of real comedy.
There are many problems with this movie, but perhaps the most striking question for an outspoken and proud feminist like Schumer is why she insists on playing, yet again, the role of a sex-crazed floozy who smokes and drinks too much and thinks it’s funny to talk about her lady bits? And why make nearly all of the men in your films (and television show) bad fathers, complete morons, violent thugs, or adult males living like teenagers? At least in Trainwreck, Schumer’s character’s love interest—Bill Hader’s Dr. Aaron Conners—was a competent orthopedic surgeon who provided some stability and positive affirmation for Schumer.
But in Snatched, it all feels very familiar (and unfunny). The men and the women are tedious stereotypes; the jokes rely on crudity rather than wit; and the lady buddy comedy approach falls flat.
Amy, you’re better than this. Or at least you could be.