Movie Reviews: Snatched and Growing Up Smith

Snatched

Cary, NC – Snatched is a very funny action comedy starring Amy Schumer and the legendary Goldie Hawn (Private Benjamin, The First Wives Club), in her first on screen performance in 15 years. The movie itself is solid, with director Jonathan Levine (50/50) delivering some solid action and plenty of outrageous situations, but it’s Hawn who is the main draw here and she does not disappoint.

Schumer and Hawn Are Hilarious

Snatched is Amy Schumer’s second leading role after her impressive debut in Trainwreck, a great romantic comedy that was also written by the comedian. Here, it seems that Schumer is playing another variation on the lost thirty-something struggling to find their way through life. However, she sells it well, wringing a lot of laughs in the first few minutes from her less-than-ideal situation.

Living Legend Goldie Steals The Show

As for Goldie, her character isn’t the most original either, an overbearing mother who gets on her daughters very last nerve, but man, Hawn is just so good and so funny that I was simply grateful to see her on screen again. Her and Schumer have excellent chemistry together as well, mining plenty of laughs with their fighting and banter. Director Levine keeps things pretty streamlined; the movie clocks in at a tight 91 minutes, so there’s not a lot of fat here.

One quibble I did find however was that after the two leads are, well, snatched, they never truly feel like they’re in any real danger. It’s not the most important thing, this is more of a screwball comedy after all, but some bigger stakes could have led to a stronger overall film.

Solid Comedy Worth Seeing

But as I said, that last point is a minor quibble. Schumer is still super funny and Hawn simply lights up the screen. I’m sincerely hoping she doesn’t make us wait another 15 years for her next comedy. Overall, Snatched is well worth the trip!


Growing Up Smith

Playing this weekend at The Cary Theater, Growing Up Smith is a family comedy about growing up and self-discovery. While it may not be too challenging or novel, it is a fun, cute film with laughs and shows a perspective that’s rarely seen in American movies.

Charming Comedy

The premise of Growing Up Smith is simple: the young son in an Indian immigrant family tries to learn what’s it’s like to be an American and emulates whatever is around him. He loves Saturday Night Fever and disco-chique, wants to enjoy Halloween with his classmates and looks up to his neighbor Butch, a rough-and-tumble car mechanic.

Most of the comedy in Growing Up Smith comes from the clash of the Indian family’s understanding of American culture and its reality. The title character’s name is a perfect representation of this, with his father naming him “Smith” because it is a common American name, not knowing it’s a last name and not a first name. And while some films could turn this into cruelly mocking an immigrant family, there appears to be enough input from people with an actual Indian experience that it feels even-handed.

To a more jaded audience, not all of these jokes may land. The format would fit with any typical TV comedy now and it’s setting in the 1970s intentionally makes many of the references and comedy dated. But if you go in wanting a fun time, you will get it.

Mixing Cultures

What makes Growing Up Smith stand out among other comedies is its central cast of the Bhatnagar family. It’s not often you see an American comedy talking about Diwali or the relevance of various Hindu gods but here, it all comes naturally. And the central story of Smith, played by young newcomer Roni Akurati in his first role, allows the film to seamlessly blend these lived experiences of Indians and Americans.

There are some moments of more seriousness throughout Smith, and these are where the shine is taken off the American Dream some. While Smith’s family does well, Butch, played by Jason Lee (My Name is Earl, Chasing Amy), deals with mortgages, a lack of job opportunities and so on. And with anti-Indian racism directed at Smith as well, the movie does not shy away from some of American culture’s problems as well.

One unfortunate element, I feel, is the end of the movie seems to suggest that American culture is superior to Indian culture. By the end, strict practices by Smith’s Indian family are shown as very harsh and unfair and even his traditional family appears to reject many of their own beliefs when we touch back with Smith as an adult. For a movie that shows the good and bad of both cultures for so much of the run time, it is a strange way to end things.

A Fun Night Out

If you are looking for a heart-warming family comedy, Growing Up Smith will work great for you. It is fun, it is cute and it shows you some perspectives you may not be used to.

Growing Up Smith is playing at the Cary Theater on Thursday, May 18 at 2 and 7 PM, as well as Saturday, May 20 at 9 PM.


Jordan Hunt reviews movies for CaryCitizen. Read more Movie Reviews. Photos from Facebook (Snatched/Growing Up Smith).

Arts coverage on CaryCitizen is sponsored in part by The Cary Theater.

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