Mothers and Daughters: The mother-daughter relationship between Linda and Emily is supposed to be the driving force of the film, but it doesn’t quite cut it. They’re not exactly a dynamic duo, with very little on-screen chemistry, and the idea of them being polar opposites who must re-connect through a struggle is overdone. This isn’t at all helped by the fact that the characters in and of themselves are one-dimensional archetypes; the uptight, overprotective mother, and her childish, unambitious daughter. There seems to be an idea throughout this film that the familiarity of a difficult mother-daughter relationship will be enough to connect with its audience, but because the characters often fall flat so does this all-important relationship. There are occasional bright moments between the two that will force a giggle, but they are few and far between. The side characters are far more likable and far funnier. Emily’s brother Jeffrey (Ike Barinholtz), an agoraphobic nerd, who faces his fears to save his mother and sister is surprisingly brilliant, and his character’s rapport with US State Department employee, Morgan Russell (Bashir Salahuddin) is far more interesting in just a few scenes than Linda and Emily’s relationship. Roger Simmons (Christopher Meloni), the quirky American ‘ranger’ also deserves an honorable mention for brightening up the lack-lustre comedy.
Ludicrous: The plot of Snatched is completely ludicrous, but it is intentionally so. While its first few scenes feel like the beginnings of a generic romantic comedy, the film takes a turn after the mother and daughter duo are kidnapped and held for ransom. The sheer ridiculousness and the physicality of the comedy verge on slapstick. There’s something about the stupidity of it all that actually works in this film’s favor. Somehow while watching Goldie Hawn and Amy Schumer struggle around the jungle, fight off baddies and extract a tapeworm, you can’t help thinking that a movie this intentionally bad, can’t actually be that bad (after all it’s successful in its endeavor, right?). Unfortunately, unlike other recent comedies that are ridiculous for the sake of being ridiculous, for instance, Bridesmaids, there are no wonderful protagonists and relationships to cut-through and connect.
The Other: It’s also worth noting that despite its being set in Latin America, Snatched’s protagonists are white women. This wouldn’t be as much of a problem if all of the Latin American characters weren’t in some way portrayed as the ‘other’. The only Latin American characters in this movie are either criminals or ‘traditional’ villagers. In both cases (though one is nicer than the other) the film seems to look in on Latin Americans as some sort of exotic other species. The question is, whether this was meant to make a point about the two protagonists and the attitudes of white, Western tourists in other countries, or if it was simply thoughtless stereotyping? I am crossing my fingers for the former.