You will be redirected back to your article in seconds


Inspired by a real-life incident so bizarre it's already been referenced in a "Law & Order" episode, "Stuck" is ingeniously nasty and often shockingly funny as it incrementally worsens a very bad situation, then provides a potent payoff with the forced feeding of just desserts.

Brandi - Mena Suvari Tom - Stephen Rea Rashid - Russell Hornsby

Inspired by a real-life incident so bizarre it’s already been referenced in a “Law & Order” episode, “Stuck” is ingeniously nasty and often shockingly funny as it incrementally worsens a very bad situation, then provides a potent payoff with the forced feeding of just desserts. This darkly comical farce could command an enthusiastic cult during carefully calibrated theatrical rollout, especially if it generates want-to-see buzz in key regions of the blogosphere. But it’s difficult to tell whether helmer Stuart Gordon’s sardonically edgy pic will reach many mainstream auds before fast-forwarding to homevid.

Working from a crafty script by John Strysik, Gordon establishes a heightened-reality tone of bleak hilarity early on while introing two lead characters: Tom (Stephen Rea), a sad-eyed schlump who has lost his job to downsizing; and Brandi (Mena Suvari), a dedicated retirement-home caregiver who devotes far too much of her downtime to partying, drinking and drugging.

After enduring a long day of frustrations and humiliations –he’s kicked out of his apartment, then brushed off by a state employment office clerk — Tom thinks he’s hit rock bottom when he’s reduced to spending the night on a park bench. Unfortunately, he winds up in the wrong place at the wrong time just as Brandi puts pedal to the metal.

Brandi is understandably upsetwhen Tom’s broken body flies through her windshield. Still, she has sufficient presence of mind to drive home, stow her car in her garage — even as a semiconscious, sporadically moaning Tom remains stuck in place — and, come morning, take a cab to work. She’s really bummed out by what has happened, but she knows that spilling the beans about her hit-and-run accident might dampen her possible promotion.

So Brandi asks Rashid (Russell Hornsby), her drug-dealing boyfriend, to dispose of the inconvenient body. But there’s a complication: The body isn’t quite dead. Indeed, the longer he remains trapped in the windshield, the more time Tom has to gather strength for the slow and painful process of escape.

Given Gordon’s notoriety as the cult-fave auteur of “Re-Animator” (1985) and “From Beyond” (1986), it shouldn’t be surprising that “Stuck” includes a few quease-inducing scenes of messy mayhem and seriocomic suffering. But the pic is more unsettling — and most hilarious — when the violence is emotional, not physical, as Brandi gradually reveals the full measure of her sociopathic selfishness.

Gordon and Strysik advance their mordantly outrageous yet perversely logical narrative through the steady accumulation of unlucky breaks, impulsive decisions and ironic twists. Up to a point, auds may actually view the increasingly frantic Brandi as deserving of at least some sympathy. Once that point is past, however, “Stuck” kicks into overdrive, propelled by the giddy exhilaration always ignited when filmmakers more or less announce that all bets are off.

Suvari is fearlessly effective as she charts Brandi’s devolution from distraught screw-up to unhinged harpy, making each step in the transformation seem at once unexpected and inevitable. She offers excellent counterpoint to Rea, whose pitch-perfect performance suggests that the best hope for a loser is to be placed in a situation where you have absolutely nothing left to lose. Hornsby earns his own share of laughs by playing tough-talking Rashid as no match for tougher-talking women.

Pic overall has the look and feel of a tawdry B-movie. Whether that’s due to budgetary limitations or artistic inspiration, it serves the material well.


U.S. - Canada

Production: A Rigel Entertainment presentation of an Amicus Entertainment (U.S.) production, in association with Prodigy Pictures, Grana Prods. (Canada). Produced by Robert Katz, Jay Firestone, Ken Gord, Stuart Gordon. Executive producers, Sam Grana, John F.S. Laing, Tim McGrath, Andrew Arno. Directed by Stuart Gordon. Screenplay, John Strysik, from a story by Gordon.

Crew: Camera (color), Denis Maloney; editor, Andy Horvich; music, Bobby Johnson; production designer, Craig Lathrop; set decorator, Alan MacLeod; costume designers, Carol Cutshall, Chris O'Neil; sound, Georges Hannan; special effects supervisor, Laird McMurray; visual effects supervisor, Jon Campfens; associate producers, Mena Suvari, Julie Moldo, Zenon Yukno; assistant director, B. Scott Senechal. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Midnight Madness), Sept. 10, 2007. Running time: 94 MIN.

With: Brandi - Mena Suvari Tom - Stephen Rea Rashid - Russell HornsbyWith: Rukiya Bernard, Carolyn Purdy-Gordon, Lionel Mark Smith, Wayne Robson, R.D. Reid, Patrick McKenna, Sharlene Royer.

More Film

  • Terry Back chairman ACF

    Veteran U.K. Media Investor Terry Back Joins ACF as Chairman

    CANNES — Veteran U.K. film industry investor Terry Back has joined ACF investment bank as chairman. ACF, headed by CEO Thomas Dey, has been at the forefront of the M&A activity around independent TV and film production outfits, mostly in the unscripted TV arena. ACF is in the midst of expanding its activities in the [...]

  • Joker

    Korea Box Office: 'Joker' Remains on Top, 'Gemini Man' Lands in Fourth

    Warner Bros.’ “Joker” remained on top of the South Korean box office in its second weekend. The American psychological thriller earned $5.71 million from 768,000 admissions between Friday and Sunday, for a total of $28.3 million from 3.85 million admissions after two weekends. It accounted for 46% of total weekend box office in the country. [...]

  • dolittle-DRD_Tsr1Sht_1011_RGB_4_rgb-1

    Robert Downey Jr. Embarks on Perilous Journey in First 'Dolittle' Trailer (Watch)

    Robert Downey Jr. is setting sail with some furry friends in the first trailer for “Dolittle,” Universal Pictures’ reimagining of the classic story about a man who could speak to animals. “We have no choice but to embark on this perilous journey,” he says. Set to a rendition of Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World,” [...]

  • Parasite

    Bong Joon Ho's 'Parasite' Posts Powerful Opening in North America

    Bong Joon-Ho’s dark comedy “Parasite,” which won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, has launched with a spectacular $376,264 at three U.S. theaters.  Neon opened “Parasite” at The Landmark and Arclight Hollywood in Los Angeles and at the IFC Center in New York, where it broke the opening record set by 2014’s “Boyhood.” Its per-screen average of [...]

  • Joker Movie

    'Joker' Dominates International Box Office With $124 Million

    “Joker” is showing impressive traction internationally with a second weekend of $123.7 million on 24,149 screens in 79 markets — a holdover decline of just 29%. Joaquin Phoenix’s psychological thriller has totaled $351.2 million outside North America after only 12 days in release. And with $192 million in domestic grosses, “Joker” has now topped $543 [...]

  • Joker

    'Joker' Remains Box Office Ruler With $55 Million

    Joaquin Phoenix is king of the North American box office once again as “Joker” scores an easy victory in its second weekend with $55 million at 4,374 sites. “Joker” dominated a trio of new entries with animated comedy “The Addams Family” leading the rest of pack with $30.3 million at 4,007 venues, topping forecasts. Will [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content