Stuck on Outrageousness
By Fred Topel | Image property of ThinkFilm
I enjoyed the outrageousness of Stuck. It's a great concept and they really do milk it for all the minute details. They have fun with some of the outrageous incidents too. It's just so incompetent it doesn't look like a real movie.
Movie Review: Stuck
Brandi (Mena Suvari) is about to be promoted from changing poopy diapers to managing all nurses at the old folks home. Tom (Stephen Rea) can't even get an appointment at the unemployment office. After a night of partying, Brandi hits Tom with her car, sending him through her windshield. Instead of taking him to the hospital, she parks her car in her garage, waiting for him to die. Of course, Tom hangs on and creates even more problems for her.
It's kind of like Misery if you were rooting for the killer. Only you're not really rooting for Brandi. Yeah, she helps people, but she's not very smart. Even with a DUI and a manslaughter conviction, she could still keep her job. It's not like Tom's going to have a high priced lawyer nailing her for Murder 1.
Tom is hardly heroic either. He's innocent, for sure, but he's so pathetic you almost wonder why he's hanging on. He's got no one, no prospects, and even if he makes it to the hospital, they're not going to fix him without insurance. At least he got a place to sleep.
But the concept of making this mistake and letting it get further and further out of hand is fascinating. There are plenty of outrageous moments, from driving several minutes with a body hanging out the window, to a Jerry Springer-esque romantic squabble. There's some crazy gore, with every element of Tom's wounds and squishy sound effects to make it grosser.
When I say it doesn’t look like a movie, I mean I'm not a stickler for camerawork. I just want things to be in frame. And with no lighting, everything looks dingy. Not like the world is supposed to be dingy, just like they weren't actually setting up for a film. I know Stuart Gordon's work. When I was a kid, I thought Re-Animator was a real movie. I didn't know the difference. I thought it was out on video so it was a real movie. I don't remember there being anything incompetent.
The actors really sell it. Suvari looks stretched to her limits, and that's not a comment on makeup or lighting. She's really acting the part. Rea really looks like he's hanging on by shreds. It's sort of a movie thing that people survive these horrible injuries, but he really plays it like the triumph of the human spirit, not some action hero who can bust through glass unscathed.
The characters also act a little too ridiculously. Not the leads. You can have one outrageous lapse in judgment to set things up. It's when you get to neighbors who state the obvious, caricatures of gays and bureaucrats, tough talking gangstas with no presence and other ridiculous antics that begins to seem like just a fluke that any of it is compelling.
Stuck may be among the greatest B movies ever made, but it's masquerading as a legitimate film. It's got recognizable stars and it's trying to come out in theaters, so it's really not even owning the level on which it can be enjoyed.
Sources: Image property of ThinkFilm
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