Sunday, October 19, 2014

Stretch: Movie Review

A wild ride but couldn't put a story together.

Stretch starts with a drunk, coked-out gambling addict getting launched through a car window and then before he lands on the pavement, meets a girl and falls in love. And then the movie just gets crazier after that. The lead character, who calls himself Stretch, gets a job as a limo driver after hitting what he perceives as rock bottom, and then getting clean, getting sober and intending to pay back gambling debts. 2014

Directed by: Joe Carnahan

Screenplay by: Joe Carnahan

Starring: Patrick Wilson, Jessica Alba

Stretch is a pretty entertaining lead character. He opens the film with funny dialogue and continues to insert witticisms on his observations thoughout the night. It was a good choice to cast Patrick Wilson. As an actor, he needs a win and Stretch himself is also desperately in need of a win, or else rock bottom could be even lower than he imagined. It’s a good performance that combines physical acting, great line delivery, and an ability to try and keep things normal when all hell breaks loose.

All hell certainly does break loose. It’s a wild ride, but it’s a ride that makes less and less sense, a plot that gets less and less interesting and characters that get less engaging as the film moves on. It works a lot better as a random collection of funny sketches, but put together it doesn’t add up to much. The overall story is that Stretch needs to get a lot of money and pay back big, bad Mexican crime lords. I couldn’t care if he succeeds or not. Most of the characters are hedonistic and movie versions of big, bad crime lords. Stretch goes off the rails himself, but at least he was entertaining.

The hedonistic aspect shouldn’t be surprising since it does take place in LA after all and likes to highlight the money-obsessed, drug-addled aspect of that lifestyle. It also contributes some funny scenes of Stretch auditioning but failing as an actor, and great cameos of Ray Liotta and David Hasselhoff. Even Chris Pine gets in on the fun with a fantastic performance in a sizable role of a completely crazy billionaire.

The movie looks like it would have been a lot of fun to make; it’s even a lot of fun to watch at times, but it would have been a lot better if they put together a more substantial story. The movie also tries telling the audience that it’s a boy meets girl story, but don’t worry it’s not. There is a girl, but she doesn’t make nearly the impact that Stretch seems to think she does. Similar to Stretch the movie itself.

Similar Titles:

A Beginner's Guide to Endings (2010) - A life adventure for three common-sense-lacking, dysfunctional brothers.

Hit and Run (2012) - A guy's movie for girls with good action, comedy and romance.

Pain & Gain (2013) - Not much action, but there is comedy as muscleheads set off to achieve the American dream.

Savages (2012) - Entertaining crime thriller devolving into nauseating romantic drama.