'#Stuck': Film Review

Courtesy of Prodigy Public Relations
Joel David Moore and Madeline Zima deliver charming performances in this film all too reminiscent of the recent "Two Night Stand"

A couple find themselves awkwardly trapped together in a traffic jam after a one-night stand

#Stuck has the unfortunate timing of landing in theaters soon after Two Night Stand, a similar portrait of a couple awkwardly facing the morning after a one-night stand. Substitute a hellacious Los Angeles traffic jam for a New York City blizzard and the couple having met in a bar versus an online hookup, and you have basically the same story. Still, this essentially two-character romantic comedy has its charms, mainly supplied by the engaging lead performances of Joel David Moore (Avatar) and Madeline Zima (TV's Californication).

Structurally, this film is rather more ambitious than its immediate predecessor which told its story in chronological fashion. It begins with the aftermath of the sexual encounter, with a clearly hungover Holly (Zima) attempting to sneak out of Guy's (Moore) apartment the next morning. Realizing that she left her car at the bar where they met, she returns to his bed as if she had never left, and he politely if reluctantly offers her a ride to retrieve it.

Unfortunately, they soon find themselves stuck on an L.A. freeway that has essentially been turned into a parking lot for reasons unexplained. Initially hostile and snippy with each other in the way that has apparently become de rigueur for those who participate in such liaisons, they eventually relax and begin getting to know each. He's an accountant, she's a lawyer; he's a "serial dater,"  she's a "serial monogamist"; and she suffers from a deathly allergy that results in her panicking when he dares to unwrap a peanut butter power bar.  

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Their gradually warming banter is periodically intercut with aerial views of the traffic mess, as well as comic-relief shots of various drivers coping less than successfully with their mounting frustration. More interestingly, debut writer-director Stuart Acher introduces a series of flashbacks depicting the events of the night before, beginning with the couple's drunken sex and proceeding backward to illustrate how each wound up at the bar where they met.

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Occasionally overly ambitious in its style — the individual POV shots of the couple having sex feel like something you'd encounter on a porn site, only coming across as more silly than erotic — #Stuck (there's no explanation for the hashtag) is too slight to make us care about whether its characters ultimately get together. Moore displays a low-key deadpan charm and Zima, although a little too prone to constant giggling, is sexy and charming. But by the time the film is over viewers are likely to wind up feeling like they've been stuck in traffic themselves.

Production: Stuck Productions, Stupendous Films
Cast: Joel David Moore, Madeline Zima, Jayson Blair, Joanna Canton, Rebecca Field, Kate Reinders, Peter Onorati, Stephanie Faracy, Abraham Benrubi
Director/screenwriter/editor: Stuart Acher
Producers: Stuart Acher, Joel Michaely
Executive producers: Ken Pizzo, Stella Archer, Jacob Gruber, Ira Gordon, Jill M. Burnett, Ben Gordon, Joel David Moore, Madeline Zima
Director of photography: John Matysiak
Production designer: Michael Barton
Composer: Deborah Hurwitz
Casting: Danielle Aufiero, Barbara Fiorentino, Amber Horn

No rating, 84 minutes

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