Synopsis: A hard-luck limo driver struggling to go straight and pay off a debt to his bookie takes on a job with a crazed passenger whose sought-after ledger implicates some seriously dangerous criminals
Joe Carnaghan’s gritty debut Narc seems a lifetime away from the black as night limo based comedy Stretch, which acts as a tonal companion piece to his equally bonkers Smoking Aces. His follow on from the deeply humourless The Grey, and no doubt using some of his recent Blacklist power and money, Stretch feels like Carnahan blowing off steam with his regulars Ray Liotta, Chris Pine and new collaborator Patrick Wilson.
Wilson plays the eponymous Stretch, a hapless mess of a limo driver who we are introduced to by way of a fender bender in part caused by his being coked off his face and topped up with booze. As Stretch talks us through the series of events that brought him to LA with aspirations of being an actor and left him penniless, in debt to the mob, single and on the verge of blowing his brains out we come to learn he is a deeply flawed man with a killer smile. To make matters worse he is on the verge of losing the job he hates passionately, all because of a mysterious rival limo company stealing all their customers. When Stretch is given until the end of his shift to pay his $6000 gambling debts in full his only hope is the promise of a big tip from a bat-shit crazy billionaire (Chris Pine) who only asks he pick up a briefcase and return it to him in the allotted time.
Of course, nothing is as easy as that. And once Stretch has his hands on the case all sorts of crazy capers ensue as he contends with terrible rappers, Federal Agents, ex-girlfriends and psychotic auto-recovery drivers who all want a piece of him or whatever it is he has agreed to deliver.
This is Carnaghan letting loose after delving into some pretty dark places with The Grey and he brings the kind of glossy, unashamed surface level bonkers characters to life that he so evidently loved writing and directing in Smoking Aces, and to a much lesser extent The A-Team. Arguably no one has more fun with their character than Pine who brings a whole new meaning to word debauchery as he swans around equal parts Howard Hughes, Gordon Gecko and Travis Bickle, spewing coke fuelled words of wisdom and sporting a slew of terrible outfits. Wilson runs a close second as the shit eating limo driver, who is haunted by the ghost of another limo driver (a mis cast Ed Helms) as he tries to keep his crappy life together.
Conclusion: Silly and forgettable with some enjoyable set pieces. Carnaghan letting loose is a lot of fun to watch
Cast: Patrick Wilson, James Badge Dale, Jessica Alba, Ed Helms