There are many films whose plot takes a character through an insane amount of incidents in a single night. While sometimes those films are decent, other times the overabundance of events makes the film too frenzied and irrational, especially if viewers don’t take to the main character. Now on Netflix the 2014 film ‘Stretch’, staring Patrick Wilson, takes the plot of an insane night and brings it to a whole new adventure, one that you’ll actually want to experience more than one night.
With a screenplay written and directed by Joe Carnahan, the same man who directed “The Grey”, “Smoking Aces”, and “Blood, Guts, Bullets, and Octane”, you know you’re in for a wild ride. In ‘Stretch’ Patrick Wilson, known from “The Conjuring” and “Insidious”, stars as Stretch, a failed actor now making ends meet as a limo driver. His life is a mess ever since the woman he wanted to propose to dumped him. Now realizing he has to get his life back in check he is off drugs and done with gambling. Unfortunately his $6000 gambling debt has been called in to be paid by midnight. With the help of benignant co-worker Charlie, played by Jessica Alba, the desperate Stretch agrees to drive eccentric and mysterious self indulgent billionaire Roger Karos, played by Chris Pine from “Star Trek” through out the night. Hoping to collect enough money from an obscene tip so he can pay off his debt, Stretch will face Karos’s demented behavior, dangerous rival limo employees, a panic stricken boss, an FBI investigation, and even hallucinations of a deceased former limo driver.
‘Stretch’ may not be for all viewers. It’s quick paced and packed full of animated brilliant dialogue from not only conversations between Stretch and those he encounters, but also from Stretch’s running thoughts. The numerous encounters he suffers in one night are so well played out they don’t seem that outrageous. They are uproarious and nearly believable. The film is loaded with guest stars like Ray Liotta, Norman Reedus, and David Hasselhoff playing themselves, Ed Helms as the dead Karl, who haunts Stretch’s subconscious, and Brooklyn Decker as Stretch’s lost love Candace.
Patrick Wilson could not have been a more perfect choice for Stretch, a man so far at the bottom of life that he’s willing to do what it takes to get himself out of the hole. He’s comical, determined, and makes no qualms that he is far from a “good guy”. Wilson’s reactions to situations and people are just funny and you actually identify with him, especially how he reacts when he runs into the woman that broke his heart. You actually cheer for this man who maybe you shouldn’t be cheering for. Jessica Alba is stellar in a small and different role as Charlie, Stretch’s coworker who assigns who limo drivers pick up. Sure she still is cute, but she concentrates on delivering quick lines with concern for Stretch. Chris Pine took no credit for his role as the billionaire Karos, but amazes in his transformation. He truly is the crazy character, both scary and weird. Pine not only uses the physical look he has been given but his eyes to show how not all the lights are on upstairs.
Joe Carnahan gives amazing direction and delivers a dark and seedy look to the film where characters are just trying to get by. He knows exactly when to put the comedy and exactly for how long. The jokes do not drag out and the pacing of the film may be slow at first but once he has the night set it’s a fast adrenalin rush. He gives viewers enough action, comedy, and dialogue to make ‘Stretch’ one of those films that people begin to pass around to friends. It’s more than worth taking a chance on viewing ‘Stretch’ because the adventure will thrill you and leave you wanting to take another ride.