Fumble in the Jungle.


Mommie Fearest: Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn


If you think the title is funny, then this movie is for you. And it all started so promisingly. Amy Schumer plays Emily Middleton, a New Yorker who’s looking forward to the trip of a lifetime to Ecuador. Then her boyfriend dumps her because she’s only got one vagina. “I’m breaking up with you,” he says. “When?” Emily asks. Meanwhile, Emily’s mother Linda (Goldie Hawn) won’t leave her alone because there was a heist in Delaware. Linda then starts surfing the web for sex offenders in White Plains, New York. It’s a fretful relationship, but when none of Emily’s friends want to join her in Ecuador, she turns to her mother. Desperately, she argues that her mother would put the “fun” into “non-refundable.” Eventually, of course, Emily drags her mother off to South America for a series of wildly foreseeable and increasingly farcical misadventures. In the first ten minutes of the film I laughed ten times. And never again.


Amazingly, it has been fifteen years since Goldie Hawn last did a movie (The Banger Sisters in 2002, with Susan Sarandon). However, the intervening years have not been kind, exacerbated by some ill-advised cosmetic surgery. It was a mistake, too, to cast the actress against type. Here, the former goddess of the giggle is reduced to the role of a stay-at-home mom who’d rather curl up with a book than contemplate a night on the town. The saddest image of all is seeing the ‘It’ girl of the 1960s flashing images of extreme pornography at the camera for the benefit of a cheap laugh. And to think that Goldie started her film career with an Oscar and the wit of I.A.L. Diamond and Peter Sellers to help her on her way.


The reason Snatched is not funny is not because it’s predictable but because it’s improbable. Gross-out humour has its place but it only really works if the audience is behind the set-up. Machete-wielding South Americans and abominable tapeworms do not belong in a movie about mother-daughter reconciliation. Amy Schumer herself is the film’s trump card. A courageously self-deprecating presence, she can lick a laugh out of a half-written bon mot. But her Emily Middleton has no bearing in reality. Still, she’s spared the indignity inflicted on Joan Cusack, whose demented performances as a former Special Ops agent heralds a new low for the actress.




Cast: Amy Schumer, Goldie Hawn, Joan Cusack, Ike Barinholtz, Wanda Sykes, Christopher Meloni, Oscar Jaenada, Randall Park, Tom Bateman, Bashir Salahuddin.


Dir Jonathan Levine, Pro Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping, Paul Feig and Jessie Henderson, Ex Pro Amy Schumer, Screenplay Katie Dippold, Ph Florian Ballhaus, Pro Des Mark Ricker, Ed Melissa Bretherton and Zene Baker, Music Theodore Shapiro and Chris Bacon, Costumes Leesa Evans.


Chernin Entertainment/Feigco Entertainment-20th Century Fox.

90 mins. USA. 2017. Rel: 19 May 2017. Cert. 15.