dir. Jonathan Levine
by Dakota Drobnicki
Ask your mom about Goldie Hawn if you’re too young to know who that is. Back in the 80s and 90s, she was one of the biggest comedic actresses in Hollywood, with a long string of box-office hits like Private Benjamin, Overboard, Bird On A Wire, and my personal favorite Death Becomes Her under her belt. After finishing The Banger Sisters in 2002, Hawn entered a passive retirement from acting that she broke to do this film with popular comedienne Amy Schumer. Was it a film worth breaking 15 years of retirement over, you may ask? Meh.
Emily Middleton (Schumer) drags her mother Linda (Hawn) along to a vacation in Ecuador after Emily’s musician boyfriend (Randall Park, who I wish had more screentime) breaks up with her over her lack of ambition and direction in life. When Emily meets a guy (Tom Bateman) who whisks them away on a day trip, they are kidnapped and taken to Colombia, and they have to fight their way back to the U.S. consulate in Bogota. Along the way, they’re helped by wacky side characters played by Wanda Sykes, Joan Cusack and Christopher Meloni.
When it comes to bad comedies, it’s hard to come up with a whole lot to say about them than “this or that wasn’t funny” or entering an overdramatic tirade about how comedy movies aren’t as good as they used to be (pick any “better” period of time you want). It’s even harder when a movie is just average, where a critical eye becomes almost useless and totally numb to the formulaic antics on screen. A lot of the more adventurous scenes in the Amazon jungle have a sterile soundstagey feeling to them, and the scenes of the fancy resort in Ecuador do feel like they were indeed shot in Hawaii instead.
What did I like about this film, though? For starters, Goldie Hawn is at least enjoying herself quite a bit, and her decades of comedic experience allow her performance to feel worn-in and natural even through the blandest comic setups the screenwriters throw at her. I honestly wish the pair of Wanda Sykes and Joan Cusack’s special ops agent had been the focus of this movie instead, because their story seemed infinitely more fascinating than the one it’s actually based around. Hopefully producer Paul Feig could make a movie about them and set it in the same universe as Spy to give this movie more of a reason to exist.
Listen, if you like Amy Schumer and your mom likes Goldie Hawn, or if any other possible permutation of that scenario applies to you, go see it with your mom and enjoy the 90 minutes of occasional chuckles. Plenty of mediocre comedies like this have done gangbusters by just supplying that. If you’re looking for a movie you’d want to remember a month after seeing it, go elsewhere.