Stuck Like Chuck (2009) – By Duane L. Martin

When Jerry Cavallaro decided he was going to make a movie, he wasn’t messing around. He wrote it, directed it, produced it, did the camera work, edited it, and even made a cameo appearance in it. Now that’s dedication!

 

Stuck Like Chuck is a romantic comedy about a guy named Charlie (Joe Moran), who wants desperately to be a film maker. He’s taking film in college and basically lives, breathes and eats it…with one exception. There’s this girl in his film class named Juliet (Jocelyn DeBoer) who he’s had a massive crush on since the first day he met her. She has a huge crush on him too, but unfortunately, even though they talk and he helps her out with stuff in film class, neither one has the guts to just come out and say how they feel. Finally, Charlie’s boob-obsessed stoner roommate Rob (Patrick McColley), who’s also in their film class, comes up with an idea to help them spend some time together alone so Charlie can finally drop a pair and hook up with her. One day, while Charlie and Juliet are in the editing room, Rob wakes up the teacher and suggests they close up shop early that day. Everyone else is already gone, so the teacher agrees. He and Rob take off and the teacher locks the door on the way out. Now Charlie and Juliet are locked in the room, and after an initial period of awkwardness, finally start to open up to one another. Will they actually get together and become a couple by the time Rob finally decides to wake up from his stoner haze to come and let them out, or will things totally fall apart for Charlie and Juliet? You’ll have to watch the film to find out. The great part is, you actually can watch the film, because Jerry Cavallaro is giving it away for free on his website. I’ll get to that after I talk about the film.

Stuck Like Chuck has several things going for it, and a couple of things working against it. Let’s talk about what works first.

The best thing about this film is the characters. Charlie’s awkwardness could have gotten really annoying if the character had been more pathetic. What saved it was that he didn’t come off as pathetic, but rather, as inexperienced with girls. He also didn’t come off as overly straight laced, nor as a film snob. Just from past experience, I know a lot of people would have gone down that path with the character. Unfortunately, that path leads to unlikeability, and it can really ruin a film with a quickness. Jerry Cavallaro went exactly the right way when he wrote this character, and Joe Moran played it well. He was just a film geek who had a problem telling a girl he liked her. Perfect. Jocelyn DeBoer was basically the exact same character as Charlie, only with a different background, and the added bonus that she’s incredibly hot. Again, many films would have made her character stupid and needy when it came to film, but she was really into it and just needed some editing help from Charlie. She also loved cult films just as much as he did, loved old Nintendo games, etc…. Basically, she’s the perfect girl in every respect. Charlie’s roommate Rob is in the film class as well, but all he really cares about are boobs and pot. Again, a character like this could quickly become annoying in many films, but in this one, it was done just right. He did his best to help Charlie get the girl of his dreams, while at the same time using the pot and boob obsession for plenty of comedic effect. He could have been a wasted character, no pun intended, but he actually turned out to be a cool, funny guy. They’re what made this movie work, and all of them, including Jerry Cavallaro, have a whole lot to be proud of here. The teacher of the film class was also funny, but I don’t want to talk about him here because it’s an uncredited role that’s supposed to make you go, "Oh! It’s him!". See the film and you’ll recognize him. He was really good in it actually.

Now, there were a couple of things that didn’t work all that well, but were not like massively detrimental to the film. One wasn’t too bad, and the other was kind of confusing. The part that wasn’t too bad is that the film felt too long for the amount of content. I know some of the scenes with Charlie and Juliet are supposed to feel drawn out and awkward, but sometimes things felt like they were dragging out a little too long without enough interesting dialog to carry the whole scene. Not a major issue really, but one I wanted to mention for future reference. There were some parts that just sort of threw off the pacing of the film here and there. The thing I found was confusing was the part where Charlie reveals to Juliet that trapping her in the room was all pre-planned to allow them to spend some time together. It goes off on this whole thing where she gets pissed off about it and storms out, but then once that part’s over, it switches to what really happened. The first part was Charlie imagining what would happen if she reacted badly to him telling her. Unfortunately that wasn’t made entirely clear when it happened. That’s what made it confusing when it actually switched back to reality. The concept was fine, it just needed to be more clear about it being in his imagination.

Now, as I said earlier, Jerry Cavallaro is giving this movie away for free. It was a labor of love for him, and all he’s asking for are donations, or to buy t-shirts he’s selling, which I would encourage folks to do. Jerry has a promising career ahead of him as a film maker, and giving away your first film is a really great way to get your name and your work out there, and he should be encouraged and enabled to make more films in the future. You can check out the film on the film’s website at http://www.stucklikechuck.com, and I do encourage you to check it out. It’s a fun film and you can tell a lot of heart was put into making it.