Though Stretch is a rather kinetic film – think an episode of Entourage on crack – and would’ve most likely come and gone in cinemas without much notice, there’s such an infectious energy to it all that you can’t help but feel disappointed that it wasn’t granted a larger release.
The DVD market seems tailor made for films of Stretch’s ilk though with this having “cult classic” written all over it, and I can only hope that the films garners traction as it’s one of the more enjoyable features seen this year.
Recalling his off-the-wall actioner Smokin’ Aces, director Joe Carnahan clearly embellishes the chance to inject his own energy into the comic-noir personality Stretch takes on with the film utilising its Hollywood setting to maximum potential.
The Stretch of the title refers to the nickname Patrick Wilson’s down-on-his-luck limo driver adopts, a bumbling fool who becomes the most unlikely of heroes. The film doesn’t take long to kick itself into high-gear when Stretch picks up Roger Karos (an uncredited Chris Pine), a billionaire magnate on an unfathomable bender, who offers our titular driver the opportunity to clear his $6000 gambling debt in exchange for help on a particular job.
Bad decisions abound as Stretch travels through a bizarrely heightened version of L.A. with Rick’s possession in tow, a sought-after ledger that only the most dangerous of criminals are after, and each frame practically spills over with drugs, cons, and sensual wills. It’s all meant to be taken in jest and it’s evident that everyone involved is here to enjoy the ride just as much as the audience is.
Ray Liotta, David Hasselhoff and Norman Reedus, all playing exaggerated versions of themselves, keep the manic intensity alive alongside a deliriously sweet Jessica Alba (an actress who is never given as much credit as she deserves) as a limousine company receptionist with a soft spot for Stretch, and an immensely entertaining Ed Helms as a deceased driver who palms off advice; James Badge Dale, Brooklyn Decker and Randy Couture round out the remainder of the game cast.
Given its unceremonious dumping on the home entertainment market without so much as a whisper, you’d be forgiven for having as little faith in Stretch as the company behind it did, but the film – readied in 2014 – is remarkably funny, effortlessly cool, and appropriately quirky. If you’re ready to hand your intelligence over for a quick 90 minutes, Stretch is worth the trade.
Review Score: FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)