Friday, December 12, 2014

Streaming: Joe Carnahan's nifty STRETCH gives Patrick Wilson a juicy role -- and he runs with it

Actually, everyone in Joe Carnahan's new movie gets a juicy role, and everyone does a crackerjack job. It's just that Patrick Wilson gives the kind of performance he rarely has the chance to tackle, and he's a delight to watch as he cajoles, pleads, races and gets knocked around some as a limo driver in debt who must suddenly pay that debt by tonight. And Mr. Carnahan, shown below, excels at this kind of fast-paced nonsense (as in Smoking Aces and The A Team).

His new movie, STRETCH, never takes itself too seriously but entertains us like crazy. It's one of those films filled with weird, crazy criminals doing nutty stuff that sort of makes sense if you're living in a word gone utterly loony. And as the movie is set in Hollywood and its environs (it even has nifty cameos by Ray Liotta and David Hasselhoff playing themselves), all this makes more than a little oddball sense. Why a film this much fun never got a theatrical release (or appeared on DVD) is beyond my ken -- the IMDB notes only an "Internet" release this past October -- but here it is now, playing on Netflix streaming for all to see.

In addition to Misters Wilson (above), Liotta and Hasselhoff, the movie features Jessica Alba, below and looking pretty ordinary (yes, this is possible) as the limo service's dispatcher, and Chris Pine (shown at bottom, right) in the major -- but uncredited -- role of the Wilson charac-ter's craziest and richest passenger/client. Both actors are aces, as is everyone down to the smallest role. And there are plenty of small, juicy roles here, too. Screenwriter Carnahan, along with his "story" guys, Jerry Corley and Rob Rose, have let their imaginations run wild to produce a cast of characters that consistently surprise us, while tickling our collective funny bone.

Despite all the evil and would-be ugly goings-on, this is the kind of smart, fast whizzer in which, no matter what might happen, you're pretty much assured that the hero will triumph against whatever odds. So you can relax and just go with the very speedy flow, with the built-in assurance that a very good time will be had by all.

Stretch, which is both the movie's title and the name of our hero, runs a fast 94 minutes and can be seen now via Netflix streaming and elsewhere. (Only the movie's closing credits -- featuring some really crappy, not-very-funny outtakes -- spoil the fun. The movie is such as upper that you should maybe stop watching as those credits start to roll.) 

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