Stuck
R1 - America - Image Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: James Teitelbaum (14th November 2008).
The Film

Shit. That was my first impression of this movie. I mean that literally. During the first scene of "Stuck", Brandi (Mena Suvari) is introduced as a kind hearted but trashy nurse. She visits one of her patients, an elderly man who is a bit ashamed to have messed his bed. They didn't need to show it. They really didn't. The mess was understood, and the idea that he'd had a crap among his sheets was clear. So when Mena - the hottie from "American Beauty" (1999), and now looking a little rounder, and with a trashy braided hairdo and an equally ghetto plastic manicure - rolls the man over, we really didn't need to see the gallon of nasty diarrhea all over the white sheets. The shot is as tacky as Mena's character's fake fingernails.

So, one must now ask, what sort of movie is this going to be? Having shown us what had already been clearly implied and what could only have been included for gross-out value, we must now wonder what other sorts of choices the director Stuart Gordon - the man who brought us "Re-Animator" (1985) and "Space Truckers" (1996) will make as the rest of this film unfolds.

Gordon has made at least one good decision: casting the dependable Stephen Rea as Tom, an out of luck fella who is being expelled from his crappy one-room apartment by a crabby landlord. Tom can't get a job or a break. After a scene in which he runs afoul of a beurocrat character, a scene that would have been poignant, funny, disturbing, or all of the above in 1997 ("you're not in the computer"), Tom finds himself homeless.

Naturally, it isn't long before Brandi and Tom meet. Well, if Brandi running over Tom after getting loaded and busying herself with her cell phone while trying to drive constitutes meeting, then they meet. The car window shatters like a pane of glass, and makes a shattering sound like a window pane too. Has Stuart Gordon never heard of safety glass, the stuff that all car windows have been made of since like 1979? Brandi - who works in a hospital - has absolutely no idea what to do with Tom, who is stuck on the hood of her car like a bug, impaled on the remaining shards of windshield. So, she drives around the town for a while with Tom bleeding all over her upholstery. It never occurs to her to apply any of her medical training to get this bleeding guy off of the hood of her car. Leaving him there, on the windshield in her garage, she screws her boyfriend instead of helping Tom, and then goes to work (um, in a hospital) the next morning.

Well, you can see where this is going. The bad decisions in both scripting and direction start to pile up pretty quickly, and it isn't long before watching "Stuck" is less entertaining than a poke in the eye with a stick.

This is a shame, because Suvari does her noble best with the material she is given, creating a well-defined character in Brandi. Sadly, Suvari also appears to be desparate enough for a paycheck that she is willing to give us what was only hinted at in "American Beauty" - lengthy full topless scenes. These things really are much better when left to the imagination. Sort of like that poo scene, for different reasons. Rea appears to be seriously slumming for a paycheck here as well, but at least he keeps his clothes on, unlike the assuredly underpaid old-timer who has to lay in a pile of shit.

Video

Aspect ratio is 1.85:1 anamorphic widesreen. This one seems a little murky, and there are just a few points at which notable compression problems pop up. It doesn't look awful, but it is not one to show off your new High-definition flat screen with, either. Running time is 1:25:17, divided into 16 chapters.

Audio

"Stuck" is presented in either English Dolby Digital 5.1 or Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround, with subtitles in English and Spanish. Clinky squishy nasty noises as Rea tries to disentangle himself from the auto windshield are front and center (and for that matter, rear and sub too); there' splenty of gross-out sound here. Oh, is there dialogue? I hadn't noticed.

Extras

The only extras are a theatrical trailer which runs for 1 minute 35 seconds and bonus trailers for "YPF" which runs for 2 minutes 7 seconds and "The Night of the White Pants" whcih runs for 1 minute 48 seconds.

Overall

The Film: F Video: B- Audio: B Extras: F Overall: F

 


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