Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5. USA, 2017. Chernin Entertainment, Feigco Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. Screenplay by Katie Dippold. Cinematography by Florian Ballhaus. Produced by Peter Chernin, Paul Feig, Jessie Henderson, Jenno Topping. Music by Chris Bacon, Theodore Shapiro. Production Design by Mark Ricker. Costume Design by Leesa Evans. Film Editing by Zene Baker, Melissa Bretherton.
Amy Schumer‘s life is at an all-time low: she’s just been fired from her crappy retail job, and her boyfriend has dumped her and left her with two tickets to Ecuador that none of her friends want to take on his behalf. A visit home to her overprotective mother (Goldie Hawn, returning to the screen for the first time in fifteen years) results in her inviting her to take the unclaimed ticket despite Hawn’s objections to leaving the safety and security of her own suburban neighbourhood. Things are going well at their lovely resort until Schumer falls for the bedroom eyes of a handsome stranger and it lands the ladies in the arms of kidnappers who hold them for ransom. Our resourceful heroines spring themselves soon after getting locked up, but seeing as they don’t really know their way through the South American jungle, and considering that a nasty villain is still chasing them down, it’ll be a while before they can “chillax” in the sun. The combination of two very funny women and a lighthearted plot straight out of the Concept Comedy vault provides for a fair number of laughs and an overall innocuous feel, though the unplanned humour that results from Schumer and Hawn interacting with each other in what feel like improvised scenes is far more successful than writer Katie Dippold’s poorly punched-out screenplay. The film seems to want to deal with its main character’s flaws but never really does (hints of insecurity via bad choices with men or an obsession with dishonestly happy selfies), or it means to have a bridge-the-gap message about the two generations but only touches on that briefly, while Hawn’s stuffy and judgmental mother never really gets an education of letting loose either, and then the kidnapping plot falls apart in a very shoddy third act before a conclusion that implies that some kind of learning or growth has occurred which we haven’t witnessed. The inclusion of the grating caricatures played by Wanda Sykes and Joan Cusack as intense ex-special forces operatives is the film’s biggest fail, an opportunity for comedy that is completely wasted amid a lot of lazy stereotyping of South American cultural tropes.