Second Viewing is a series here at The Nerds Templar where we discuss a movie we’ve seen before and then watch again for a second time. Maybe we saw it at the theater and then catch it again on DVD or streaming services or maybe it’s a film we watched years ago and view again today to see how it holds up.
I first watched Stretch years back when it hit Netflix or home video (I honestly don’t remember how I saw it). I’m a big Joe Carnahan fan and this film was his follow up to The Grey so I was ready for it. I was confused at how I had missed it prior to home video/streaming, but I learned more about the film and well, I won’t get into the nonsense that destroyed this movie’s release. At the end of 2019 I was talking to others about under the radar films from 2010-2019 and this movie immediately popped up. So I went and bought it on DVD to watch again.
After watching it last night, it’s still a fun flick with a bananas performance from an uncredited Chris Pine. If you aren’t familiar with it, Patrick Wilson plays a limo driver nicknamed Stretch. He moved to Hollywood to become an actor and seeing his dreams not pan out, drives people around the City of Angels. As years pass, he struggles with the bottle, blow, women and gambling. He owes $6000 to the type of people you don’t want to owe $6000 to so he takes on a high end client who’s known to tip big. Enter Chris Pine.
From this point forward the movie is pure Joe Carnahan. You see the debauchery that is the real Hollywood. If you ever lived there you know the Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous involve nudity, safe words, drugs and much, much more. Stretch drops Pine’s character off at a party with 3 hookers and is given a job to pick up a briefcase. Unbeknownst to him, the authorities are involved and Stretch not only has to outrun the bookie out to get him for the $6000 he owes, but the Feds join in as well. Along the way he’s also pissed off a rival limo company, forgot to return a prop gun and badge belonging to Ray Liotta and runs into his ex-girlfriend. All while dealing with hallucinations of a dead Ed Helms.
Patrick Wilson is a fantastic actor and showcases his abilities extremely well here. It’s a great mix of drama and comedy and you genuinely root for him through all the chaos. Sure he needs the money, but it’s Pine’s fault he’s in this mess. Then there’s Pine. I still think he’s an underrated actor and this is easily one of his best performances. With long hair and crazy beard, you might not recognize him beyond his blue eyes. His crazy rich boy character makes Robin Williams look tame and you never know what he’s going to do next. Add in supporting roles from Helms, James Badge Dale, Randy Couture, Jessica Alba, Brooklyn Decker and others and the cast is solid. Plus you can never go wrong with Matthew Willig trying to beat people up. Mix that with Carnahan’s style and it’s a kinetic, thrill ride through the Valley and Los Angeles.
I always hoped Stretch would pick up a following over the years and those who have seen it love it, but unfortunately there are still a lot of people I mention it to who haven’t even heard of it. If you haven’t seen it and enjoy movies like Doug Liman’s Go (another underrated flick) try to find it. If you like Patrick Wilson or Chris Pine, it’s a must see for sure. Be a Firestarter!