A new Amy Schumer movie came out this past weekend. That fact might inspire a thousand different reactions, but one sure thing is that the comedian inspires conversation. After seeing Snatched, The Ringer staff decamped to a resort in Ecuador to answer some questions about the movie’s best moments, Joan Cusack’s performance as a silent-film actress, and where Amy Schumer should go from here.
1. What is your tweet-length review of ‘Snatched’?
Alison Herman: I saw the movie a week ago and can’t remember a single thing about it.
Andrew Gruttadaro: If you go into a movie thinking it’ll be the worst movie you’ve ever seen, there’s a chance it can both be bad and exceed expectations.
Alyssa Bereznak: I’m pretty sure that’s not what a tapeworm looks like, but I refuse to Google what a tapeworm looks like. Also, no one asked for this.
Lindsay Zoladz: The Lost City of Z(anily Unchecked White Privilege)
K. Austin Collins: Goldie Hawn would like to be excluded from this narrative.
2. What was your favorite moment in the film?
Collins: Chris Meloni’s Chris Meloni–ness.
Zoladz: When Jaime from Broad City appeared! That was a nice surprise.
Bereznak: When Chris Meloni revealed himself to be not a seasoned explorer, but a former Trader Joe’s manager with terminal cancer and a death wish. And then his subsequent demise by attempting to swing over a river on a jungle vine. And then Emily and Linda’s realization that the map he was using to guide them through the jungle was just the back of a kitschy dinner menu.
Gruttadaro: All snarkiness aside, Snatched actually had a few laugh-out-loud moments — chief among them when Chris Meloni’s Fake Jungle Explorer swung from an unstable vine and plummeted to his death with the utmost confidence.
Herman: I laughed at Chris Meloni’s dumb placemat. Good for him, embracing his "gorgeous sex idiot" side in his post-Stabler career!
Dobbins: I will never hear the word "tapeworm" without thinking of that little antennae thing creeping out of Amy Schumer’s mouth. That’s an achievement, right?
3. What was the worst part of the movie?
Bereznak: It goes without saying that the tapeworm scene will haunt me for weeks. But aside from that, I really hated the part where Emily comes home drunk and rips out the last chapter of her mom’s book. First of all, a mom’s vacation book is sacred. No amount of alcohol would make a daughter foolish enough to desecrate her mother’s reading material. And secondly, I’m really tired of watching Schumer’s drunk acting. It’s really not that funny.
Gruttadaro: Any time the movie took a detour and tried to inject itself with meaning. That’s not what anyone wants from a comedy about two white people who get kidnapped but inexplicably not murdered!
Herman: The shady/mean/cartoonish brown people who stumbled out of a time warp from 1987.
Zoladz: There wasn’t one specific part as much as an overall sense of genericness. I had no idea who these characters were. I felt like the studio hacked out all the "exposition that makes me quasi-care about these characters" scenes, and we were left with cardboard cutouts instead of people. Goldie deserves better.
Dobbins: Overall prize goes to the lazy "Americans in a foreign country" racism running throughout the movie; specific honors to whoever decided to not let Joan Cusack talk.
4. Who is Amy Schumer in 2017? Why did she make this movie?
Herman: Inside Amy Schumer fans were under the mistaken impression she wanted to be a sociocultural icon — you know, like Tina Fey. What they didn’t realize is that Snatched is what she’s wanted all along: a perfectly decent studio comedy that plays to a common denominator that’s pretty damn low, if not the lowest. Amy Schumer is an aspiring movie star, and Snatched is the logical next step on that path after Trainwreck. Once you establish the template with a bang, you replicate it with a decent-enough follow-up. Boom! You’ve got a bankable persona.
Gruttadaro: She’s quite possibly our most famous female comedian right now. She’s also running on fumes with her "drunk mess who’s self-aware and proud about it" shtick and doesn’t seem to have a follow-up. Both things are why she made Snatched.
Zoladz: I’m really scratching my head on this one. Trainwreck felt like a very deliberate, thought-through career move. This just felt sloppy.
Bereznak: In Snatched, Schumer plays a version of the character that has made her famous: a basic white girl with a realistic body and a raunchy self-confidence. Those characters were sometimes fun to watch in Inside Amy Schumer skits because they helped make a point about modern-day microaggressions toward a certain class of women. But in tailoring that persona to a big-budget comedy, Schumer seems to have completely shed any meaningful remnant of the feminism that made her notable in the first place (not to mention, emboldened her to be somewhat culturally insensitive both in her movie and in that weird "Formation" spoof from a while back).
Anyway, I’m pretty sure the only reason she made this movie was so she could pocket a healthy, Will Ferrell–sized pile of cash.
Dobbins: Amy Schumer does not care — and probably has never cared — about your college thesis on "12 Angry Men Inside Amy Schumer." She is here to make money, and the way you make money in a big-budget studio comedy is to be dumb and loud. Here we are. (Maybe we’ve always been here?)
Collins: Amy’s still Amy. Don’t tell anyone — but I like her. As for why she made the movie: because Goldie said yes, and because who wouldn’t.
5. Which great older comedic actress got the rawest deal: Goldie Hawn, Wanda Sykes, or Joan Cusack?
Herman: Joan Cusack literally couldn’t talk. She’s a good physical comedian, but she’s not that good.
Dobbins: Not choosing, they have suffered enough. But while we are on the subject of Goldie Hawn, I would like to resurface an anecdote from a recent Tad Friend piece in The New Yorker that is worthy of everyone’s time. It’s about how rich people want to find a way to live forever via science. This is how the story begins:
I, TOO, HAVE A QUESTION ABOUT THE MITOCHONDRIA!! MAKE THIS INTO A MOVIE, PLEASE.
Bereznak: Goldie Hawn. Despite the fact that this movie was billed as a cross-generational buddy comedy, her role as the UV-sensitive cat lady muted everything that’s great about her on-screen personality. She seemed trapped in a traditional older-woman’s character just for the sake of being Schumer’s foil. It’s not fun to see that kind of late-age taming of a talented and vivacious actress like Hawn.
Zoladz: Goldie! She came off a 13-year hiatus for this?! Joan Cusack obviously got the best deal because she was billed third without even having to speak.
Collins: I can’t get behind a movie that denies Joan Cusack a chance to screech and howl, sorry.
Gruttadaro: Goldie Hawn was criminally misused, and beyond that, criminally underused. Wanda Sykes was given a fanny pack and an order to "be Wanda Sykes." Neither got a very good deal. But Joan Cusack? Joan Cusack wasn’t allowed to speak. That’s the rawest deal, even if Cusack performed admirably as a retired black ops soldier who cut her own tongue out.
6. Why does ‘Snatched’ hate Instagram?
Bereznak: I have no idea why the superficiality of social media was the crux of Emily and Linda’s middle-of-the-jungle argument around the time that they’d given up all hope. It was a weird thing to talk about at such a desperate moment, especially when you’d expect they’d have much deeper dysfunctionalities to pick at given the fact that they’re, you know, mother and daughter. Maybe Hollywood thinks that breaching the topic is the only way to stay relevant with younger audiences?
Dobbins: Because Amy Schumer’s comedy is built on the insecurities of women!!! Very funny!!!
Gruttadaro: It is apparently a rule in Amy Schumer movies that enjoying anything relatively frivolous makes you an awful, disgusting human being.
Zoladz: I think they realized during some rewrite or another that the whole premise was thin, and they had to add in some sort of "social message" to up the ante. They probably threw a few in a hat and voilà!
Herman: Because an Amy Schumer movie has to shame women for something, and if it isn’t drinking too much and sluttin’ it up, it might as well be social media.
7. When I say the word "tapeworm," how does that make you feel?
Bereznak: Let’s never speak of it again, OK?
Herman: Back in my day, that shit was called Jewish housewives’ disease. You can’t faze me.
Dobbins: Like this movie had one decent scene. It was gross and funny!
Zoladz: Traumatized. But also traumatized at how much I actually laughed during that scene; I am gross.
Collins: I cannot discuss pending lawsuits.
8. Can big-budget comedies be good? What was the last genuinely "good" studio comedy?
Collins: This is the era of Rose Byrne, Leslie Mann, the comedically under-used but homicidally funny Taraji P. Henson, Jonah Hill, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Kate McKinnon, Peyton Reed, Leslie Jones, auteurist Louis C.K. — and, hopefully, a resurgent Goldie Hawn. And on and on. Great comedy has long felt sparse, but that’s true of all genuinely great filmmaking. All in all, Hollywood comedy is doing fine — please don’t let Snatched and Paul Feig convince you otherwise.
Herman: Great? Bridesmaids. Good? Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping. (I’m ignoring the first question, which is silly. Haven’t you seen Anchorman?)
Zoladz: Yes they can, because STEP BROTHERS. This movie wanted badly to be Step Brothers and run with the whole adult-baby, arrested-development humor shtick. But its mask, as they say, just wasn’t movie quality.
Dobbins: I liked Ghostbusters (2016).
Gruttadaro: Bridesmaids might have been the last legitimately great studio comedy. Everything since has been either terrible (Get Hard, Grown Ups 2) or good-but-forgettable (both Jump Streets, the Paul Feig-iverse, Neighbors). Bridesmaids was 2011. I am just realizing this. I thought I came here to answer a few fun questions and now I’m worried about the state of mainstream comedy. I gotta go read the Rock’s tweets or something.
9. What should Amy Schumer do next?
Bereznak: She should go do another season of Inside Amy Schumer so we can be reminded why we thought she was smart and good in the first place. That is, just as long as she keeps Kurt Metzger far, far away.
Herman: Write a better hour of stand-up than The Leather Special and perform it in a better outfit.
Gruttadaro: Whatever she does, it MUST NOT be another role in which she plays a girl who can’t drink or do drugs responsibly. I can’t watch another slow-motion twerking scene.
Zoladz: I would love to see her go back to TV. Inside Amy Schumer is still the best thing she’s done by a mile.
Dobbins: Devil’s advocate: Snatched will ultimately be good for Amy Schumer because it has freed her of the fake-intellectual audience who finds "social significance" in her humor. (I am guilty of this x1000, by the way.) Now she can just make a million Bad Moms–style movies and people will pay money for them. Not the worst outcome.