Thanks for reading, as always.
Stereotypes and archetypes aren’t the problem — as you point out, they’re essential to comedy, and to what’s so dangerous and attractive (and essential) about it. And as I try to explore, Hawn often takes the tropes that have defined her throughout her career to exceptional places. Snatched, though, fails in a really basic way: it treats stereotypes as inherently funny, when really — and has Hawn has frequently proven — the most humor is in what the comedian does with it, how far they can push it, and what pushing it to those extremes can reveal about the stereotype to begin with. That’s what I love about Hawn’s thoughtful thoughtlessness: the characters might be dumb on paper, but Hawn’s confident, nimble performances give them a veneer of virtuosity. The sweet spot — the humor — is in the mix of the two.
Snatched relies on stereotypes but it for the most part has no perspective on what makes them funny or worth using, nor does it really give Hawn, in particular, room to play with what’s there. (Schumer fares better.) It’s lazy — a lot of comedy is. As for the racism, the inherent problem again isn’t the basic trope of white Americans finding themselves / wreaking havoc in foreign, often Third World countries — that can definitely be wielded humorously, as the Fyre festival just reminded us. Generally, though, the funny spin on that story doesn’t invole bringing US miltiary might to bear on what’s going on. That’s not comedy; it’s history. I’m absolutely open to more comedies using the same trope to reveal precisely what’s so unfunny about Snatched, however.
It’s definitely great that comedies (and movies and TV broadly) are getting more diverse, in front of the camera and behind it; and you’re right, for there to be good ones, there have to be bad ones. But since there are good ones, why mince words about the bad?