Take a Drink: for each crazy moment
Take a Drink: for each use or reference of drugs
Do a Shot: to Chris Pine’s new look
Do a Shot: for each cameo
Take a Drink: during each stylish moment
By: Matt Conway (Two Beers) –
While most movies eventually find their way into theaters despite delays, other movies are not so lucky. With VOD and iTunes being so popular, more and more films with big name stars are seemingly being dumped from theaters. Just a few months back, Eli Roth’s much anticipated horror Green Inferno went from being a wide release in September to having no such release anytime soon. Earlier this year, Stretch faced an even more extreme case of this.
Just a month before its March release, distributor Universal took the promising release completely off their release schedule, despite featuring quite a few popular actors. After that point, producer Jason Blum was allowed to shop the film to other studios for release. After months of trying, the film reverted to Universal, who has now decided just to release the film on iTunes and VOD. This is a shame, because Stretch is a relatively enjoyable action/comedy.
Stretch follows Stretch, a hard on his guy who has relegated to being a limo driver after failing to become an actor. Stretch now only has the night to pay back the mafia for gambling debts, and his only chance to do so is drive around a crazed man who is in possible legal trouble.
The cast here is quite good. For me at least, Patrick Wilson has always been a blank slate. He’s shown some promise in films like Hard Candy and Watchmen, but has mostly been relegated to being the straight man in comedies and horror movies. Here, Wilson is the leading man and really gets to shine. Wilson shows off his natural charm as Stretch, who despite some of his flaws makes for a likable protagonist. Compared to a lot of characters he is more of a straight man, but still is able to get a few laughs and entertainment from his role.
Stealing the show, though, is Chris Pine, who ironically is another actor who at points of his career has been relegated to being the bland protagonist. Here, Pine really changes not only his appearance, but his general demeanor. Not only is this change quite funny, but Pine really owns the part as this drug-filled and crazy man, getting quite a few laughs just with some of his mannerisms. The rest of the supporting cast including Jessica Alba and Ed Helms also does a solid job in their respective roles.
This film also has a great deal of cameos which are fantastic. These moments are quite funny, and the range of these cameos is surprisingly diverse. While early advertisements have already revealed David Hasselhoff’s funny bit, other surprise cameos are a great deal of fun, and are some of the film’s biggest laughs.
Doing a great job behind the camera is Joe Carnahan, who has turned into one of the better up and coming directors. Carnahan implements a lot of great style into the film, making Stretch in a lot of ways feeling like a throwback to 80’s action films. This is also a relatively cheap to make, but Carnahan is able to hide his budget, or more fittingly lack of budget, quite well. There are quite a few practical effects that look quite impressive, and Carnahan’s stylish direction makes these bits quite enjoyable.
Carnahan’s film also has a great deal of energy. The film zooms through its 90 minute running time with a lot of pizzazz and excitement, something that is not seen enough in action-oriented films these days. Not only is Carnahan’s direction to thank, but also the actors, who really give it their all with their performances.
The script here has its fair share of positives. The dialogue is quite sharp, with there being quite a few funny bits throughout. Written as well by Carnahan, the script also does a great job of not being to cocksure or overly-clever. The script also in a lot of ways is quite clever in it featuring an interesting depiction of current day Los Angles, along with being a secret middle finger to the pure excess in Hollywood today.
However, the screenplay is over-stuffed. There are a lot of subplots, such as a potential love interest for Stretch and a dead limo driver played by Ed Helms who haunts Stretch, and most of these do not fit that well into the film. At certain points in the movie, there just seems like there is too much going on overall, and the film could have had more focus on its overall main storyline.
While some of the out-there humor is quite funny, some of it is quite lackluster. At times, it feels like the film just tries way too hard to seem insane, with some of the moments just coming off as juvenile. These bits, including Chris Pine’s character parachuting down without pants, are just too silly, and take away from the clever moments of the film.
With it being dumped out onto iTunes and VOD, Stretch has the making of a cult classic. It’s an energetic, clever, fun-filled ride, featuring some stylish direction and dedicated performances. It’s certainly worthy of the theatrical release that was previously planned for it.