When a mild-mannered Uber driver named Stu (Kumail Nanjiani) picks up a passenger (Dave Bautista) who turns out to be a cop hot on the trail of a brutal killer, he’s thrust into a harrowing ordeal where he desperately tries to hold onto his wits, his life and his five-star rating.
What We Thought:
Stuber doesn’t reinvent comedy, but I did laugh at times. It’s a tried and true formula of the “straight guy” opposite the “wild card” in the classic fish-out-of-water situation. If you read the synopsis above you know pretty much the entire plot. Dave Bautista is a cop trying to take down a killer (Iko Uwais) and instead of going to his daughter’s art display he ends up in an Uber with Kumail Nanjiani who drives the hot-headed cop around Los Angeles.
The jokes come from a few different angles. First you have the size differential of the two leads. Add in their personalities and it’s buddy comedy 101. Plus Bautista’s character can’t see very well after fighting Uwais and needing corrective surgery where he wears funny looking glasses. They try to hit on the white guy opposite person of color dynamic, but Bautista is mixed himself and gets some laughs because of it.
That’s probably my biggest issue with the film, most of the humor has been done before. As someone who grew up on action comedies in the 1980’s and 1990’s there are a ton of tropes you expect in this genre. Unfortunately Kumail’s character also tries to bring in toxic masculinity and men having feelings and I could have done without it. It’s a buddy cop movie to a degree, you want guns and action and fighting and all that. Telling a hulking man he can cry and get a hug isn’t funny to me. It’s pandering to an audience I’m not part of. I rolled my eyes at all that stuff.
But Dave Bautista continues to impress me. Sure we all love him as Drax in the MCU, but he continues to prove he’s a bona fide movie star. Kumail is usually funny (coming from a comedic background), but Bautista is a former wrestler who may not get as big as Dwayne Johnson but can easily handle his work load. He’s definitely passed John Cena on the wrestler turned actor board.
Stuber is a fine way to kill some time in air conditioning, but I don’t know if it’s something I’d watch again. I do love seeing Atlanta being passed off for other cities. This is supposed to be Los Angeles and there are a ton of locations that clearly tell you it’s Atlanta especially the opening sequence in the hotel. I do wish it was funnier because it could have been up there with Rush Hour and the like. But overall I didn’t mind it I guess.
Release: July 12, 2019
Run Time: 105 minutes
Director: Michael Dowse
Writer: Tripper Clancy
Producers: Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley
Cast: Kumail Nanjiani, Dave Bautista, Iko Uwais, Natalie Morales, Betty Gilpin, Jimmy Tatro, Mira Sorvino, Karen Gillan