In this week’s Fresh Films, Marco Cartolano, David Gordon and Elliot Kronsberg share their thoughts (and displeasure) with Amy Schumer's latest film "Snatched." Transcript below.
David Gordon: This is Fresh Films, and we’re a podcast dedicated to discussing movies that are in theaters right now. My name is David Gordon.
Marco Cartolano: I’m Marco Cartolano.
Elliot Kronsberg: And I am Elliot Kronsberg.
David: So today we’re going to be talking about this film called "Snatched." So, why did we see this movie?
Marco: Well David, "Snatched" was a movie that I think fit in a lot of our schedules. You had also never seen an Amy Schumer movie before, and you wanted to have that experience.
David: Yeah Marco, I thought it would be an enlightening experience to see an Amy Schumer film, But then I realized my thoughts of her being a terrible comedian were correct.
Elliot: I don’t think you can decide if she’s a terrible comedian just from one film. What if you watch "Punch-Drunk Love" and were like, “Adam Sandler’s a great actor?” No, I feel like you're going to need to see more Amy Schumer films.
David: Anyway, Snatched is about the relationship between Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn. Amy Schumer plays Goldie Hawn’s daughter. And the whole conceit of the film is they go on an exotic getaway only to be snatched by a group of people who kidnap American tourists. So, is there anybody notable in this film?
Elliot: There’s of course Goldie Hawn, sex symbol of the ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s and maybe even the ‘90s.
Marco: And Elliot, I’d also like to add that Hawn has not been in a movie for over 10 years.
Elliot: The director is Jonathan Levine, who I actually really like. I remember seeing The Wackness, 50/50, Warm Bodies, The Night Before – all in theaters. Usually he does Seth Rogen movies, and I really like him usually, but I did not like this film for many reaso ns that I think have less to do with him and more to do with everyone else.
David: I think we should talk about the joke construction in a film because each scene had one central joke and we could call the joke 30 seconds into each scene. So then we’d wait around and be bored while we wait for the joke to happen, but then the joke would happen and it wouldn’t be funny because we were able to predict it and then it would go on for five minutes too long.
Elliot: I feel like the person to blame for that is Katie Dippold, who has actually made some critically lauded films in the past, but I think just something didn’t work. Maybe Katie Dippold just doesn’t mesh well with the Amy Schumer brand of comedy.
Marco: Well, I do think that Amy Schumer does have a large role in the blame for this because there were definitely scenes in this movie that were not scripted and it was obvious that it was mostly improvised. There is a scene where Amy Schumer is getting into bed with Goldie Hawn, and I cannot imagine there being a script for that scene. It just feels like Amy Schumer is improvising herself, drunk and talking to Goldie Hawn. I will say that one thing about Amy Schumer, she has a very unique aspect as to who she is as a woman comic. She is very willing to be self-deprecating and very mold-breaking in her presentation as a female comic. She is very willing to make jokes about her body, make her do things that are usually considered disgusting that a lot of women in comedy usually don’t do.
Elliot: There is a scene where Amy Schumer has a tapeworm, and they don’t have the medicine to get it out, so they have to pull it out. And for several minutes, it’s Amy Schumer flailing around with a tapeworm stuck halfway out of her mouth, and it’s actually funny physical comedy in a movie that doesn’t really offer many funny moments.
David: Any funny moments.
Marco: David, you also wanted to talk about the acting.
David: It’s kind of horrifyingly bad. Embarrassing and cringeworthy. There are scenes in the film in which the mom and Amy Schumer must act like they love or care about one another, and it just comes off as so painfully awkward – even when awkward is not the tone that the scene is going for. So, it’s that sort of horrifically embarrassing performance that had me cringing in the theater.
Marco: But there’s actually one actor who I was surprised by, and I was surprised that he hasn’t had more roles and doesn’t have more of a pedigree. That was an actor named Bashir Salahuddin, who plays a government agent in the film. And he actually showed off that he has quite a bit of a command of comedic timing. He knows how to be angry at a person, how to to physical comedy really well. I looked into him later and I saw that he was a writer for "The Tonight Show." So he’s kind of a low-key figure in the comedy world, but he definitely has the chops – and I think that those chops were a highlight of the movie for me.
Elliot: So Marco, you wanted to talk about the script?
Marco: This script, I feel, is the root of a lot of the problems with this movie. First off, the script just does not know how to be structured properly. This is a 90 minute movie, approximately, and it takes 45 minutes to really set up the plot. It’s mostly Goldie Hawn and Amy Schumer being mother and daughter and Amy Schumer being Amy Schumer for the first 45 minutes. Then they get kidnapped. And then its turns into a more action-y comedy movie, and it feels pretty jarring. They don’t really know how to incorporate supporting characters in a very good way. Christopher Meloni’s character just suddenly pops up and he has a big role and a lot of establishment of who he is as a character, then he’s just dropped.
Marco: And there’s also not a very good job done in defining Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn’s relationship in a concrete way other then them explicitly saying “You're always there for me,” or “You’re never around anymore.” That is the epitome of how they build their relationship dynamic, and that hurts them when it comes to the big sentimental fight scene, because there’s been no build up to it. It just feels like it’s there because you need that story beat to be there, and it’s overt and it’s weird.
David: Yeah it feels just like actors reciting lines, and it’s hard for us to view them as characters rather than just actors on a screen because their characters are so poorly developed.
Marco: And a final thing I want to personally note about the script is that the script has a very weird relationship with the racial dynamics of being set in Ecuador and Colombia because, on the one hand they’re trading in a bunch of the stereotypes of Colombia being a dangerous place with kidnapping and all those associated things. Then they also go out of their way to say “It’s nice in most of Colombia except for this region,” or the main villain stops in the middle of the film to give them a rant about how they just treat Latin America in general like a zoo. It feels very much like a justification for them having a kind of a stereotypical depiction of Latin America as this crime ridden cesspool. And it’s particularly an issue because Amy Schumer in the past has made jokes that have been called racially insensitive. So, it feels like something that I was probably hyper-aware of because of her reputation for those sorts of jokes. It also plays into one of the worst sentimental scenes where Amy Schumer just looks at a bunch of native Hispanic workers towing the land and she sees the women are separated from the men. And we get no buildup to this whatsoever – she just realizes how bad it is for them and starts helping them and at the end of the movie she wants to volunteer. So it’s like lip service to these social justice ideas to build her character, but it’s done in a very shallow and a very self-serving way.
David: Let’s close it out with our final thoughts. Would anyone like to start?
Elliot: Ok, it is not a great film, and I would expect something better from its pedigree – from the actors, the writer, the producers, the director, everyone. I feel like I say that too much, but I really expected better. I mean not amazing, but at least better. And more of a coherent film. Yet I would still recommend that someone could go out and see this because people should make their own decisions. I’m not going to say that it’s a good movie at all, but if you like Amy Schumer, or if you like Goldie Hawn – this is by far one of Goldie Hawn’s worst films. But if you like Goldie Hawn, this is her first film in over a decade – you might as well go see it. This is Amy Schumer’s second starring role, if you like her, you might as well go see it. And if you love Katie Dippold, this is not a high mark for her, but it is definitely one of hers. Marco, what do you think?
Marco: Well thanks, Elliot. I don’t like this movie at all. This movie is an embodiment of a lot of the bad habits of modern comedy. The improvisational scenes that go nowhere, the poor story construction, the kind of lazy cinematography that’s not aiding the comedy whatsoever and it is just a typical modern comedy and I’m not really into those films. I think that they offer nothing special, I think they’re just a rehash of each other. They just feed off each other in a vicious cycle of mediocrity. And I feel bad that Goldie Hawn had to be a part of this since this is her first movie in over a decade because she used to be this Hollywood icon. And she clearly has built a reputation for herself, and now she’s attaching herself to such a generic and unremarkable movie. Overall, I would not recommend this movie. There are a ton of movies just like this that you can rent for cheaper than the 11 bucks I spent on this movie. So, I do not recommend it.
David: Okay, so this is a movie that I would say fails on every level. First of all the cinematography, every shot is bland and uninspired and the images are uninteresting so all you're left to focus on is the weak improvisational comedy. And the performances are all terrible, so there’s nothing to distract us from the performances. Normally if you have a film with weak performances, you can use editing or cinematography to distract from those. This film did not do that. It was awkward and cringeworthy, yet still relatively entertaining at times because of how cringeworthy it was. But the issue is everything in this film is superficial and predictable. Everything that is planted to be paid off later in the film is done so in a painfully obvious manner and the jokes that happen in each scene could be called in the beginning of their scene. So, I would not recommend this film, aside from to people who are really into Amy Schumer and just like to see her act, but I just can’t recommend a film that’s so by the numbers in every way possible.
Marco: And that’s all for Fresh Films. Make sure to subscribe to Fresh Films on Apple podcasts so you get a notification every time we post a new episode. Also feel free to leave us a rating and review. It really helps the show out. For NBN Audio, I’m Marco Cartolano.
David: I’m David Gordon.
Elliot: And I’m Elliot Kronsberg.