Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Patrick Wilson, Ed Helms
October 7, 2014 (iTunes)
1 hour 35 minutes
Tell me if you've heard this one before: a studio is so skeptical on a movie with a $5 million budget that they decide to remove its theatrical release date and instead release it only on VOD. If you haven't heard that before, then you have now, as "Stretch" had exactly that happen to it. This film comes from director Joe Carnahan, whose work has ranged from silly 80s remakes like "The A-Team" to serious Oscar-worthy films like "The Grey." The film also boasts from an impressive cast, including the likes of Patrick Wilson, Ed Helms, and Jessica Alba. "Stretch" in a nutshell is a 95 minute R rated action caper about a limo driver who ends up getting involved with the wrong person on the wrong night. If that doesn't sound so bad to you, then you're most likely wondering why exactly Universal decided to take this off its theatrical release schedule. In truth, I don't know why they did it, as this is a far superior film to most of Universal's most recent films.
Everyone in the cast, ranging from Patrick Wilson's electrifying lead role as the titular character to Ed Helms' whacked out performance as a man haunting Stretch's crazy imagination, are all great. Even the cameos are well presented and extremely funny to watch. However, the one performance that stood out among all of the others, without a doubt, was Chris Pine's role as Karos. If you thought Pine was great in the "Star Trek" films, then wait until you see him here. From the moment he appears on screen, Pine is an absolute madman in this beard-dwelling character and clearly shows that he's having a great time doing it. Think of him as if The Dude snorted some cocaine and then took some ecstasy right after. To me, this is the type of role that, if Universal had released this in theaters and had tried to do some kind of Awards strategy, could have gotten Pine an Oscar nomination. Many people would most likely disagree with me on this, but that just shows how much I loved him in this flick. This is the type of performance that just shows what the term "scene-stealer" really means.
I've always admired Joe Carnahan's style of directing, as well as his keen sense of screenwriting. It really shows that this movie was a passion project of his due to the absurdity and "off-the-walls" craziness presented here. Sure there are plot points that are extremely predictable, but as a homage to 80s action movies, were you really expecting something else? I've seen lots of 80s homages before, as it seems to be the latest trend in Hollywood. However, what makes this one stand out from the others is the fact that it takes the typical tropes and characters seen in those types of movies, and somehow morphs them all into original and unique things. And that alone makes me very happy to recommend this film to you. If you want to see a film that is campy, hilarious, brutal, and just plain fun, then "Stretch" is most definitely the film for your precious, movie-hungry eyes. I may question Universal's decision to release this only on VOD and release films like "Ride Along" to the big screen.