Stretch DVD Review

Smokin’ Aces director, Joe Carnahan returns with a motherfucking blistering fireball of a film, Stretch. Starring Patrick Wilson (in a wonderfully fresh performance), Ed Helms, Chris Pine and Jessica Alba alongside cameos from Ray Liotta and David Hasselhoff, Stretch is one of the best genre bending action-thriller-comedy-outofthisworldcompletelymagical films to have been released (or not released as the matter may be) in years. It’s pregnant with colour, packed wall to wall with much enjoyed hyperbole, perfectly paced and brilliantly executed.

From the off, Carnahan is not interested in adhering to the rules or pretending like Stretch isn’t anything but the most laddish and out there satire of Hollywood and the film industry. It may not have the deepness or philosophising like Map To The Stars and it may not be as knowing as The Player but it sure as hell has much bigger balls. The film begins with a narration by Wilson’s character, Stretch, a limousine driver for the rich and famous. He explains, whilst the audience is shown, that he was involved in a car accident, he meets a girl and they fall in love. Over the course of a year Stretch gives up booze and drugs and just when he is about to pop the big question to the girl she leaves him for a big sports star. Figures.

Fast forward another year and he is low; no money, debts to pay and a job going nowhere (he actually came to LA to be an actor), it looks like he has major decisions to make. Forever taunted by the ghost of Karl (a hilarious Helms), who previously drove for the same company as Stretch before he blew his own brains out in the front seat, Stretch has to decide whether he is going to change the direction of his life or whether he is going to end up with a similar fate to Karl’s. After a brief meeting with his boss about the competition (who will do anything to steal clients alongside threatening to kill Stretch) and a run in with a bookie that he owes $6000 dollars to by midnight, he decides that today he pick up the most high profile rides, earn the money and show everyone what he is made off.

Charlie (Alba) takes the calls in the office and makes sure that she passes the best jobs on to Stretch. There is a less than subtle sexual chemistry between the pair, which neither really wants to notice (despite the fact that their first scene together looks like a couple who’ve been together forever!). First Hasselhoff and then Liotta, but Stretch has no idea what he is in for when he goes to collect millionaire, Roger Karos (Pine in one of the best roles of his career). Karos appears from the sky, butt naked and slides down the front windshield. Almost (but not) unrecognisable Pine (with black fuzzy facial hair and crazy eyes) is hilarious and has brilliant chemistry with Wilson; they really look like they are having fun. Unbeknownst to Stretch, Karos is about to be indicted for money laundering (really, no?) but before that happens, he wants to have one hell of a hedonistic night. He promises Stretch the $6000 if he is driven for the night; the offer is of course accepted.

Orgies, fake Frenchmen, police chases, crazy highway sequences, white dudes who think they can rap, fire, crashes, manga dress up and FBI surveillance are just some of the crazy shit that happens over the remainder of the night (remember Stretch has to deliver the money to the bookie, who will hurt him, by midnight).

What makes Stretch stand out is the sheer attitude of the film, it doesn’t care whether you like it or not and just wants you know that it’s here. It’s really very funny, clever in it’s own little way and despite being set in our world, is not quite all here. Everything is outrageous and hyperactive (nods to films like Kick Ass, Scott Pilgrim, Taxi and even Carnahan’s own Smokin’ Aces) and leaves the audience at the end with a cherry on top. It may make sense as to why the film wasn’t given a proper and deserved release, who would actually watch this and how the hell would you advertise it, but if you can go into this knowing only what you’ve read above (which is very little in the grand scheme), you will be pleasantly surprised by how fucking great it is.

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