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A stalled New York City subway carriage serves as a toe-tapping musical Petri dish for six socioeconomically diverse souls in the unique stage-to-screen musical adaptation “Stuck.” Sharing a stylistic template with its 2016 left-coast cousin “La La Land” (which it predated Off-Broadway by a good four years), the film’s 2017 copyright suggests a missed opportunity for momentum that could be made up by the positive word-of-mouth (generated by the film’s fest-circuit delay) for a modest achievement that benefits from a lot of heart and not being like anything else out there.
“I bring a measure of grace to the world,” says Shakespeare-spouting homeless philosopher Lloyd (Spike Lee regular Giancarlo Esposito, well-known to another generation for his work on “Breaking Bad”), a dishevelled yet dignified Greek chorus who sets the stage in song: “It’s a common notion that the universe will shove together people who uniquely offer what the other needs.”
Broadway - Review - Laurie - Metcalf - John
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Film Review: 'Stuck'
Train - Grinds - Halt - Police - Emergency
With that, the train on which he seems to live grinds to a halt. “A police emergency,” says the conductor (Mel Johnson Jr., who played Lloyd in the stage version) before mysteriously and decisively locking the doors at either end of the car. Thus are three men and three women, each with their simmering frustrations, clichéd prejudices, and elusive dreams … stuck.
There’s the strapping Ramon (Mexican star Omar Chaparro) seen dashing from his dishwashing job to make the train on his way to another hard-labor gig, no-nonsense Eve (singer-actress Ashanti), and seemingly timid academic Sue (vet Amy Madigan, who also appeared in director Michael Berry’s fine first feature “Frontera”). Joining them are tense Korean dancer Alicia (“Teen Wolf’s” Arden Cho), her geekily half-hearted stalker Caleb (Gerard Canonico, from Broadway’s “Be More Chill”) and, of course, their derelict enabler, the loquacious...
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