I had a chance to see this at Sundance a while back and the whole theater was sucked in by this deliberately paced drama. The story is deceptively simple: Several people get stuck on an elevator. That's it, right? Well, yes and no. What these five people are subjected to, while they wait for help, is each other.
Wendie Malick, the most immediately recognizable of the bunch, is so effortlessly good that it becomes almost redundant to say so. Has she ever been in something that she didn't make better simply showing up? She was hilarious on "Dream On" and aptly silly on "Just Shoot Me". (I just recently saw her pop up on an old rerun of "MacGuyver"...that made me smile.) Point is, she provides heart in this story, especially setting us up for what comes later in terms of emotion. And here to match her with sheer acting force is Ken Howard. Howard is the sort of fellow you've probably seen a hundred times without quite knowing what his name is. In Stuck, he was the one in the 3-Piece suit, the one who is above being trapped with these lesser people. He's the one who gets the most uncomfortable, of course, and he cracks first. He's sweaty and angry and brilliant. The others include the very funny, and underused, Kali Rocha (she was the obnoxious, speed-typing woman Ben Stiller has to get through to board the plane near the end of "Meet the Parents"), a very pregnant woman struggling to make ends meet, and a repairman named Brian, who isn't exactly prepared or qualified to get them out, nor does he try.
This short piece really is driven by the five performances, all good. When you make a movie about people stuck on an elevator, the acting better be good because we're also stuck with them. Luckily, I didn't mind spending 17minutes with them, even if they're not all likable as characters. Where this simple story leads us becomes unexpected, both in the resolution and in what comes about between the five of them in the process, and the final moments add an extra dimension to the entire proceedings.
I haven't the slightest clue whether this movie will be accessible someday, being that it's a short. But Mr. Clark Harris, the director, will undoubtedly be helming some bigger films in the near future, that I can assure you. Perhaps, someday, this gem will be available for everyone.
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