Sunday, May 14, 2017

Snatched Review

Happy Mother's Day! Here's are some bad Amy Schumer jokes for you!

I've said many times before that there's nothing worse than a bad comedy. After seeing Snatched, I want to make an addendum to that statement; there's nothing worse than a badly WRITTEN comedy.
What's the difference? Well a comedy can be bad for a whole host of reasons, whether its poor editing, bad delivery, a bad camera angle, there's a lot that can make a joke fail to land, but at least I can recognize that there was a joke. A joke was attempted, and it failed for one reason or another. A badly written joke can never be funny no matter what. You can polish it as much as you want, but unless you have divine intervention, there ain't no way anybody's laughing at the joke.

You may recall that I have an absolute disdain for Melissa McCarthy. I've never thought she was funny and every time I've seen her in a movie, whether it was Identity Thief or Ghostbusters, I've just groaned along at all of her attempts at jokes. However it wasn't until her frequent guest appearances on SNL as Sean Spicer that made me realize that she actually does have comedic chops. Her delivery is always on point, her energy is through the roof, and nearly all of her jokes land. It's only when she teams up with Paul Feig that she becomes a pain to sit through, so it made me realize that even though she's usually given lame jokes and puns, she does have the capacity to be funny. On the contrary, I don't think Amy Schumer even has the capacity to be funny.

Through all of her stand up specials, movie appearances, and her TV show, I can honestly say without any hesitation that I don't find any of her material funny, but not because her delivery is poor. I mean it is, but I don't think I would have laughed at any of her jokes to begin with. So it begs the question; does a feature length Amy Schumer comedy fail because it's a bad comedy, or because it's a badly written comedy. Make no mistake, Snatched fails. You didn't need me to tell you that, but the why is much more interesting to me.

Our story revolves around Amy Schumer (I know her character has a name but let's face it, you're going to call her Amy Schumer), who is distraught over the fact her boyfriend just broke up with her. They both were originally going to take a vacation down to Ecuador, so he instead invites her mother to the trip. Through a train of events, both Amy Schumer and her mother get kidnapped by drug trafficers for ransom, they have to escape, and they navigate around the treacherous jungles of South America together and bond closer to each other in the process.

I'm just going to be upfront when I say this, but Amy Schumer's character here is one of the most spiteful, selfish, hateful, conceited, and downright unpleasant characters I have ever seen, comedy or otherwise. There's no other way to describe her character other than painful. The fact that the first 10 minutes of the movie are dedicated to her attempting to be funny are easily the worst and serve as a giant red flag to anyone to get the hell out while they still can, and it all has to do with Schumer's performance. And no, this isn't just based on her performance here, nearly all of her stuff, in my opinion, comes across with the same tone and same cadence, making it all just unbearable. That is when the jokes she makes are actually her own, but that's neither here nor there.

So if the first 10 minutes are beyond torture, how is the rest of the movie? Surprisingly, it gets better. I wouldn't call it good by any other means, but you can tell that there are a couple of actors that are genuinely trying with the material given to them, and they're able to make some jokes work. Granted, some characters, like Schumer's brother, are just as annoying as the real deal, but when he's working off an agent of Homeland Security, the jokes are genuinely funny. Hell there's even a running joke between the cartel boss that's chasing them and how Amy Schumer continues to accidentally kill every relative he has. I mean it's not break out laughter, but it's enough for me to chuckle and smile a bit.

The best thing about Snatched is that is has a really fun and enjoyable supporting cast. Nearly everyone in the movie that isn't named Amy Schumer has at least a single joke that works, but that's really it though. They get a laugh once, maybe twice if we're lucky, and then we're back to the plot, which is so, so, so, so boring to sit through.

Snatched actually reminds me a bit of Tropic Thunder, insomuch as its a bunch of privileged Americans going to a country that they think is going to be a quirky little paradise, but as soon as they break away and go into the wilderness, that's when the real comedy gold starts. Except in Tropic Thunder we had a whole cadre of actors that are great comedians and some pretty hilarious lines of dialogue. Here we have actors that don't really know what to do with what they have, and even then what they get is too tame to be R rated and too obnoxious to be PG-13.

I will say though that to counter Schumer's unpleasantness, we have the surprisingly return of Goldie Hawn. Who's Goldie Hawn? Well, even though I've never heard of her, she's won an Acamdey Award for best supporting actress, is actually going out with Kurt Russell, and has been in a ton of highly regarded movies in the 70's and 80's. What's absolutely bizarre to me is that she hasn't done anything, and I mean ANYTHING in the past 15 years. This is her big return. No TV shows, no songs, no nothing. Gone for 15 years... only to reappear in Snatched... your guess is as good as mine people, but it's nice to see that she has genuine acting chops and while she can't really do the humor here well, dramatic moments between her and Schumer feel dramatic because Goldie is giving it her all. It's not Oscar worthy, but you wouldn't expect a comedy like this to have as solid of a dramatic role in it as it does.

But then we remember that Amy Schumer goes into a bathroom and washes her vagina in front of a guy she's trying to hook up with and all of that goodwill goes away pretty fast. Feminism...?

If it's coming across that I have this huge hate-gasm for Amy Schumer, I'm sorry, but when my primary exposure and take away from Snatched is that Amy Schumer is the sole reason that this movie doesn't work, I cna't help but focus on that for the review. Everyone else is fine, if a bit restrained by the material, except for her. She drags the movie down by a huge margin, knocking what could have been a harmless, if tepid comedy into something unpleasant for me.

To answer my original question, it's without a shadow of a doubt that Stranded is a bad comedy just because pieces of it don't work. It's not broken beyond repair and with a better lead and maybe a few different cuts or deliveries, Snatched could be perfectly passable. Snatched is like a crappy tractor; yeah, some parts of it are broken and look like a mess, but it can still function and it's better than the pile of scrap it could have been. 

Happy Mother's Day, don't take you mom to see this movie. Have her go see Mommy Dearest. I heard that movie has a great mother, daughter relationship!


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