"Stretch" is a French-Thai co-production that might've looked great on paper but never does onscreen.

A talented but naive French jockey finds himself turned into a pawn of Macau-based Chinese bookies in “Stretch,” a French-Thai co-production that might’ve looked great on paper but never does onscreen. David Carradine, who has what amounts to a cameo as a shady betting mogul, died of accidental asphyxiation before production wrapped, further throwing the shoddily assembled and told drama — co-penned by Canuck novelist Douglas Coupland — off balance. Scribe-helmer Charles de Meaux (“Shimkent Hotel”) would do well to retain his day job as one of Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s producers.

After a doping scandal in his native Gaul, cocky superjock Christophe (Nicolas Cazale) travels to the Chinese gambling capital, Macau, where he catches the attention of wealthy stable owners and betting specialists alike. The go-getter’s a binary creature who either wins or is frustrated he can’t or isn’t allowed to win. Onscreen text messages fail to illuminate Christophe’s personality; the locals are a cliched bunch stuck with risible dialogue (“I am rare like a panda, I only have sex once a year”). Pic’s gaffer was obviously asleep when the French sequences were shot; the rest of the tech package is passable.

Stretch

France-Thailand

Production

An MK2, Anna Sanders Film presentation of an MK2 Diffusion release of an MK2, Legend Films production, in association with Canal Plus, Arte, Cinecinema. (International sales: MK2, Paris.) Produced by Charles Gillibert, Nathanael Karmitz, Tiana Mille, Xavier Douroux, Charles de Meaux. Directed by Charles de Meaux. Screenplay, de Meaux, Douglas Coupland, Mian Mian.

Crew

Camera (color, HD), Gustavo Habda, de Meaux; editors, Guillaume Ledu, de Meaux; music, Devendra Banhart, Ghostcat; production designer, Chaiyan Chunsuttiwat; costume designer, Sandra Berrebi. Reviewed at MK2 Beaubourg, Paris, Jan. 15, 2011. Running time: 90 MIN.

With

Nicolas Cazale, Fan Bing Bing, Nicolas Duvauchelle, Cedric Segeon, John Arvananda, Lowell Lo, Pete Teo, David Carradine. (French, Cantonese, English dialogue)

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