Stretch is a bit of a crazy film. Indeed it’s so crazy that despite a cast full of well-known actors the studio behind it didn’t know quite what to do with it and cancelled its US cinema release just a couple of months before it was due to hit cinemas, before trying to sell it to another distributor. However, that’s a shame as while it is nuts and sometimes incredibly messy, it’s also oddly entertaining, even if you can see the studio’s point that it’s a tough film to properly market.
Patrick Wilson plays an LA limo driver whose life hasn’t turned out as he wanted – he planned to be an actor but never made it, he’s lost the love of his life and now he’s got a massive gambling debt and no time to pay it off. In the hope of getting a massive tip he takes a job driving an extremely eccentric passenger (Chris Pine), but soon finds him caught up in a situation involving foreign gangsters, the FBI, a suitcase full of cash, an asshole version of Ray Liotta (playing himself) and a psychotic tow truck driver.
A lot of the film is utterly insane and initially its way too impressed with itself, suffering from being so desperate to be quirky and unexpected that it comes across as a little tedious rather than fun. However, director Joe Carnahan made an extremely smart move when he cast Patrick Wilson, who has charm in whatever he stars in, and does a great job here of running the gamut from ordinary schmuck thrown in at the deep end to being a master of his own destiny trying to play the FBI (even if he doesn’t know that’s who they are).
Chris Pine meanwhile seems to be having great fun as Roger Karos, even if he doesn’t quite possess the full-on zaniness the role requires, although a crazy beard helps (and if he didn’t have any help filling out the jockstrap we first see him in, well, bravo to him). Ed Helms meanwhile pops up as the ghost of a limo driver who keeps talking to Wilson, although to be honest it’s the sort of role that probably seemed witty, quirky and unique on the page, but is a little pointless and a tad lazy of the screen. That said, both do give added value as the movie goes on.
In fact it’s only once it’s really gets going that the entertainment value properly kicks in and it becomes the thriller farce it desperately wants to be (for the first 20 minutes it’s tries way too hard to be that, with the result that many will roll their eyes before giving it a chance). As it’s convoluted series of coincidences, silliness, action and total craziness starts to play out its likely to put a smile of your face, and you’ll overlook the fact that its tendency towards being slightly self-satisfied results in a lot of messiness around the edges.
Overall Verdict: Its undoubtedly a movie that is totally nuts, but Stretch is also pretty amusing and ends up being more fun that it probably ought to be, helped by a charming central performance Patrick Wilson.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac