Review – Even Liam Neeson wouldn’t help them! (“Snatched”)

Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn together? Who’s brilliant idea was that? From Schumer’s raunchy Comedy Central hit show Inside Amy Schumer to the outrageous 70’s TV show, Laugh-In, that launched Hawn’s career into the stratosphere, both women know comedy. So what went so terribly wrong?

Amy Schumer plays Emily Middleton, a scatter-brained girl who not only lost her job and her boyfriend on the same day, but has a non-refundable airline ticket to Ecuador for two that is burning a hole in her pocket. After a trip to her divorced mom’s (Hawn) home, she gets a crazy idea: take mom–Linda–along for some much needed bonding time! What a great idea, right? But once at the luxury hotel there, things go a bit sideways. They meet Ruth and Barb (Wanda Sykes and Joan Cusack), two strange women who tell them to beware of strange men, but that can’t mean James, can they?

Emily meets too-handsome-for-words James (Tom Batemen) who instantly falls for Emily and shows her a great time. But when taking her and Linda out for a drive, the unthinkable happens. . .the women get kidnapped by the vicious white-slave trader, Morgado (Oscar Jaenada)! But the plucky girls manage to escape and call their agoraphobic and super-nerd sibling, Jeffrey (Ike Barinholtz) who, in turn, calls an uptight State Dept. official (Bashir Salahuddin) for help. Meanwhile, stuck in Columbia, Emily and Linda get some unexpected help from a clichéd-spouting Indiana Jones wanna-be named Roger Simmons (Christopher Meloni), who’ll take them upriver to Bogota and safety.

But with Morgado hot on their heels, things look bleak, as the madman tracks them down from place to place as Emily and Linda patch up their long-feuding mother-daughter problems that keep resurfacing all during the trip. After removing a tapeworm from Emily (a really gross, but funny scene) in a small village, Linda sacrifices herself to   Morgado to protect Emily and get her to safety. But in your third act rescue scenario, Emily gets weirdos Ruth and Barb to help rescue her mommy and save the day.

So what happened? After Schumer’s hilarious 2015 movie Trainwreck, it was logical that she make a second movie. Problem is, Amy didn’t write this one and didn’t have Judd Apatow directing either, so… you have this mess. Written by sometimes actor and writer Katie Dippold (the unfunny The Heat and Ghostbusters reboot), you had bits of sheer lunacy followed by long stretches of over-written comedy that falls flat. Then you have weepy moments of mother/daughter reconciling that just felt forced and out-of-place. The direction by Jonathan Levine (Warm Bodies, 50/50) was only so-so and seriously hampered by some of the worst cinematography ever! Who the hell was the focus puller on this picture?? OMG, it was dreadful! Were they asleep?

Schumer got Hawn to come out of retirement for this, as her last film was in 2002. And even though all that plastic surgery didn’t help her any, Goldie still has the acting chops and charm to pull off being Amy’s mum. I feel sorry for Amy, though. Her TV show, stand-up material, and her last movie are waaaayy funnier than this, mostly because SHE writes the stuff herself. She’s got such a great presence on screen, but without the right script and director, she can’t give it her all.

Some of the best stuff here, oddly enough, came from the ensemble. Barinholtz is a riot as the nerdy momma’s boy who gets on the bad side of Salahuddin who, by the way, is hilarious as well. Their scenes alone are well worth watching the movie for.    

Not Without My Daughter (1991)

It’s not often you can tell me that Academy Award winner Sally Field had a Golden Raspberry Award, but she did. Just once. For this movie, and it’s doozie! Not that it was her fault, mind you, since the subject matter was clearly way off-kilter.Based on a true story about a mother and her daughter in another country and trying to get back to the good ‘ol USA. Witness Betty Mahmoody (Field), her adorable 6-year-old daughter Mahtob

(Sheila Rosenthal), and their passionate father, Sayed Bozorg “Moody” Mahmoody (Alfred Molina). In 1984, Moody wants to visit Iran, claiming that his Iranian family there wants to meet his wife and kid. Despite her deep fears about visiting Iran, Betty reluctantly agrees. Yeah, BIG mistake! Upon their arrival, they are all greeted warmly by Moody’s family, but shortly before their flight back, Moody suddenly announces that he wants to stay in Iran!Why? In Iran, Moody is revered as a doctor (unlike back home) and he’s loving the attention and money. Betty, calling her husband on his deception, gets smacked, while nobody in Moody’s family sympathizes with her. Moody becomes more hostile and abusive, preventing her from leaving the house or using the telephone, forcing her to adapt to the harsh Iranian female-way-of-life lifestyle. Betty manages to visit the U.S. part of the Swiss Embassy, but is told she’s can’t leave Iran since she is married to an Iranian, and that’s makes her Iranian, too AND she has no parental rights over her daughter! Moody learns of Betty’s meeting and threatens to kill her if she tries anything else.

Knowing that her chances of escape are few, Betty plays the happy housewife, gaining Moody’s trust. By chance, she meets a nice Iranian named Hossein (Roshan Seth) who offers to help Betty and Mahtob back to the United States. Betty accepts Hossein’s assistance, especially after he mentions that Mahtob could be forced into marriage at nine- years-old or be used to fight in the war with Iraq. Yikes! There are complications, naturally, but eventually Betty and Mahtob manage to get the heck outta Dodge and over to Turkey, where they find refuge at the American Embassy there. Yes, they eventually make it home (Moody stays in Iran) where Betty writes a book about her harrowing experiences and helps other women in similar circumstances.

Brian Gilbert directed this “propaganda film” (as it was called by the critics) for it’s over-the-top and racist depiction of Iranians and their faith/customs. Based on Betty’s book, the screenplay adaptation by David W. Rintels (mostly a TV series writer) really went for the jugular and pulled no punches, depicting “good” Iranians and “bad” Iranians with cruel stereotypes. However, the movie (for what it was) was well shot and, if you believed everything that was shown, was devastating to watch. Molina was the perfect villain here, given his background as a movie bad guy, and Fields played the crazed mother who protected her little girl with all the fierce passion of a wounded tiger.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.