Stretch (Patrick Wilson) is an aspiring actor come limo driver, with a past addiction to drugs and gambling. Despite being on the straight and narrow for over a year he still owes $6,000 to some shady folk, worse still he needs to pay it back by midnight. With a new rival limo firm stealing his clients and a sudden break up with the love of his life, Stretch’s very future lies in the hands of eccentric billionaire Roger Karos (Chris Pine) who could bail Stretch out of his predicament. All he needs to do is everything his client wants, unfortunately for Stretch there is a lot.
‘Stretch’ is Joe Carnahan’s first film since ‘The Grey’ in 2011, and at it’s core is a familiar race against time story. However like some of Carnahan’s previous efforts it feels different and fresh, in thanks to his ability to blend genres well. Much like Smokin’ Aces gave us an untraditional spin on the assassin film, Stretch delivers a refreshing take on the rat race type film.
Similar to Smokin’ Aces uses of a wide variety of actors in small roles ‘Stretch’ has many a familiar face that fills out the cast. James Badge Dale, Jessica Alba, Ed Helms and Brooklyn Dekker all have small roles to play and Ray Liotta & David Hasselhoff even appear as themselves. I’ve always liked seeing actors & actresses utilised in this way as it adds a bit of weight to the film, instead of having generic actor #1 & #2 fill out the cast. ‘Stretch’ though is very much the Patrick Wilson show, playing the title character we’re with Wilson from start to finish as he tries to get by, without having his kneecaps broken.
Patrick Wilson, for me, should be in more films. Despite only arriving on the film circuit in 2004 with ‘The Alamo’ after a Golden Globe nomination for his work on ‘Angels in America’ Wilson has appeared here and there in the odd film that flies under the radar. Whether he is seemingly staying out the spotlight of big releases or being criminally underused, I do not know. What I do know, is that Wilson in this type of role is infectiously fun to watch and this is very much the case in ‘Stretch’.
As good as Wilson is, he is supported well by the surrounding cast members, especially Chris Pine & Ed Helms. Pine embodies the same eccentricity he played as Darwin Tremor in Smokin’ Aces, showing a side of him I wish we could see more often than the clean cut good guy.
The only thing that prevents the film from being a blast from start to finish is it’s strangely long intro. The film features a lot of narration by Wilson, but it drags out quite a bit at the beginning before really kicking into gear. As a 90 minute film it doesn’t really have much time to spend on building up events.
With frenetic action and punchy dialogue reminiscent of Carnahan’s ‘Smokin’ Aces’, ‘Stretch’ delivers a very entertaining ride through the underbelly of L.A. It is easily Carnahan’s most entertaining film since his 2006 assassin extravaganza and hopefully marks a step in the right direction for any future projects. It is unfortunate the film has not been released on a more mainstream platform as it is better than the majority of action comedies I’ve seen released at the cinema in the past few years.