Stretch (2014)

(Netflix Streaming, October 2017) I had been waiting for Stretch for years. A new film by writer/director Joe Carnahan? Yes, but after two years in post-production hell, Stretch was never shown in theatres and its release on the VOD market was quiet enough to go unnoticed—I learned about the film from an article about how Netflix was changing the distribution market. But it took another three years for Stretch to make it to Canadian Netflix, and I ended up watching it within days of its availability. Verdict? It’s the Carnahan movie I was waiting for: fast-paced, darkly comic, strangely conceived, tightly edited. It takes potshots at the insanity of Los Angeles, exploits Patrick Wilson’s charisma to its fullest extent and gets Chris Pine to deliver a wonderfully bizarre performance quite unlike anything an actor like him is expected to provide. Jessica Alba shows up as a gal-pal love interest, Ed Helms’ cackling voice-of-reason character has a mostly-posthumous presence … and that’s not even talking about David Hasselhoff or Ray Liotta. Produced on a shoestring $5M budget, Stretch looks ten times more expensive, and has more manic inventiveness in its 90-minutes duration than any three random Hollywood theatrical releases. The pedal-to-the-metal pacing of the film helps sell its weirdest quirks, as one day (and night) in the life of a limousine driver gets worse and worse. Stretch isn’t a great movie, but it’s pitch-perfect at reaching its target and it’s maddeningly entertaining for anyone who discovers it. I’m really annoyed that it’s still largely unknown, and somewhat grateful that, thanks to Netflix, it now has a fighting chance of being seen. 

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