Corey Shurge’s Stuck starts with a bit of ridiculousness, as audiences are introduced to the two main characters having sex. Mark (Kristopher Turner) and Natalie (Ruth Goodwin) are in the act when an unfortunate mishap with a sex toy and an unscheduled breakup leave the two in an unusual predicament. While at the hospital, the newly separated couple revisits their values and beliefs around relationships and love. The two begin to realize that they may not truly be stuck after all, and their lives will never be the same.
Audiences cannot help but feel a bit awkward watching the two make love. Things quickly change, however, as the tone becomes less about comedy and more about deeper emotions. Stuck delves into the emotional, physical, and sexual aspects of relationships equally. While this turn seems unlikely, it allows the story to develop wonderfully before the audience’s eyes.
Going in, I never expected to be taken down a path full of insight and brilliance. Shurge, however, uses the early comedy to lure audiences in and then uses his genuine understanding of the human psyche to reach them emotionally. Stuck brilliantly allows viewers to make connections between what happens in bed, what happens in the real world, and how they relate to our lives. After the first act, there are no action sequences to speak of, as the well-written and pleasing dialogue delivers the themes. It makes viewers emotional as they understand nearly everything said to be true of their lives. However, the ideals touched on throughout Stuck would fall flat if it weren’t for the talent of both Turner and Goodwin.
“…an unfortunate mishap with a sex toy…leave the two in an unusual predicament.”
Considering the first half of the film, the acting is wonderfully precise and relatable. As the film progresses and becomes more profound and meaningful, Turner and Goodwin adapt with the script. Audiences understand both the usual and unusual scenarios that Mark and Natalie face. The roles may be terribly uncomfortable for the two actors, but they find ways to create a sense of realism within each moment and allow audiences to absorb their words and actions with ease. From the opening moments, in one of the most intensely awkward sex scenes I’ve ever seen, both Goodwin and Turner intensify the situation by constantly nagging at audiences’ emotions and ensuring that their message, regardless of how taboo, is received.
Stuck revolves around a sex toy and the unfortunate mishap that takes place between Natalie and Mark. The material is edgy and more unique than anything I’ve seen, but the message throughout rings true and allows audiences to appreciate more than just the raunchy humor. Shurge’s most impressive feat, however, is his ability to transition Stuck from a vulgar comedy to a meaningful allegory of love and life.
The juxtaposition of sex and the human psyche is alluring and beautifully done. Through the odd conversations between Mark and Natalie, the movie reaches audiences in ways that even more experienced storytellers miss. Stuck is silly and serious, uncomfortable and accessible, making it one of the best films that I have seen in a long time. Prepare for a wild and enjoyable ride, but couples beware: Shurge will make you reevaluate every relationship you’ve ever been in, but maybe that’s not a bad thing.
"…...couples beware, Shurge will make you reevaluate every relationship you’ve ever been in…"