Stuck

Posted: June 06, 2008

Directed by Stuart Gordon. With Mena Suvari, Stephen Rea, Russell Hornsby and Rukiya Bernard. Distributed by THINKFilm. 1 hour, 25 mins. R (violence, profanity, gore, sex, nudity, adult themes). Playing at: Ritz at the Bourse.

A quick and nasty social satire that comes with the "inspired by a true story" avowal, Stuck melds horror and humor as it offers a literally lacerating portrait of humankind at its worst.

Mena Suvari, wearing cornrows and twin-tone fake nails, stars as Brandi, a nurse's aide in an assisted-living facility. She works hard, and is being considered for a promotion. But then, after a few drinks and a tab or two of Ecstasy at a club after work, she drives straight into a guy. He crashes through her car's windshield and stays there - like the title says, stuck.

The down-on-his-luck Tom (Stephen Rea) had spent the day getting evicted from his apartment, ignored at the employment office, and rousted by the cops for sleeping in a park. And then he has the misfortune to cross paths with an inebriated, distracted, cell-phone-dialing driver.

Too freaked out to call 911, Brandi drives home, pulls the car into her garage and, well, leaves Tom encased in a vise of bent metal and broken glass. Blood, guts and groans for help ensue.

Stuck is gross and a little glib, perhaps, but also bracingly cynical (or is that honest?) in its assessment of people as utterly selfish, self-obsessed creatures. Suvari has the tougher role (can she really be that awful and out-of-it?), but pulls it off with a weird, twisted energy. Rea, with his hangdog looks and Jimmy Stewart line readings, spends a good deal of his time writhing in fake blood and broken shards - not what you'd call glamorous work, but he does it with conviction. - Steven Rea

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