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Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Sometimes Funny SNATCHED is What White American Woman Privilege Looks Like in a Foreign Country

SNATCHED starts off innocent enough, for Amy Schumer standards. Emily (Schumer), a young woman with her head up her own a$$, is all hyped for her impending Ecuadorian vacation with her boyfriend (Randall Park) when he abruptly breaks up with her in the middle of a hipster cafe. Left companion-less for her getaway, she hits up Facebook looking for a replacement traveler. In vain, because she isn't really popular among her "friends," compelling her to seek refuge from her now overwhelming life on her mother Linda's (Goldie Hawn) comfy couch.

I figured I'd just get all the white woman privilege tropes out of the way in the first paragraph of this post. There, now that's done. Long story short, Emily eventually convinces her reclusive, cat-obsessed mom "of a certain age," who still coddles her grown a$$ son (Ike Barinholtz), to fly with her across the world. And for a while, Schumer's typical "white girl trash" routine works well with Hawn's conservative, cat lady act, hilariously so. Mostly because you really just want it to, but also because it's Mother's Day this weekend and there isn't anything else coming out in theaters that celebrates moms. Sadly.

So, you really feel compelled to enjoy this film. I mean, it's Hawn, the original blonde comedienne, and Schumer, the ballsy comedienne who just so happens to be blonde. Then something happens once they're removed from their privileged white existence and step foot into a country that is primarily populated by people of color whose biggest tragedy is probably not their boyfriend dumping them in a cafe. They're abducted by locals, from whom even after they manage to escape, inexplicably continue to hunt them down  throughout the rest of the movie in an increasingly silly, cartoon villain kind of way. Ugh, here we go with this again. Hollywood is always curious enough to visit a foreign country, but quick to vilify the locals, and make themselves out to be the white helpless victims. Hollywood, I see you. You're not slick.

So that's happening, and is super annoying. But, the glorious supporting characters played by Christopher Meloni, Wanda Sykes, and Joan Cusack help take your mind off the fact that you're watching an offensive, unimaginative, and cheap film that attempts to celebrate motherhood but can't get around its own reckless whiteness. There's even a scene in the film where Emily feels so obliged to assist local women laborers. To which her mom, beaming with alarmingly genuine pride, says "Look at you, helping." I can't.

(But seriously, more films with Meloni, Sykes, and Cusack, please).

The film almost redeems itself when its villain accuses Emily and Linda of coming to the country and gazing at the locals like they were at a zoo. I swear, I almost stood up and applauded in the theater. But it was such a fleeting moment, just a quick acknowledgement of their overbearing whiteness, that is almost immediately dead on arrival. Like this movie.

Yes, SNATCHED has some genuinely funny moments throughout, especially in the first 30 minutes, when Schumer is in her element as a devil-may-care, back tattooed white girl (as opposed to when she tries to add dramatic nuance). And there are a few touching mother-daughter moments. But the problems in this movie should not be ignored.

Rating: C (*** out of *****)


Agnieszka B. said...

So nowadays it's also impossible to read the reviews of the movies without the cliche "white women/men privilege". Today I've seen the trailer of the movie with 4 black female protagonists who did exactly the same things what do "white privilege women".

Anonymous said...

Amy schumer is not white

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