We’ve all heard of a crazy madman behind the wheel terrifying passengers with his recklessness, but in ‘Stuber’, we get a crazy, revenge-driven, 6’6 275lb cop who clearly isn’t up to date on rideshare apps.
Kumail Nanjiani plays ‘Stu’ – a timid, sarcastic Uber driver (Get it? Cause his name is Stu and he drives an…nevermind) who picks up Vic (Dave Bautista) who just so happened to get Lasik eye surgery on the same day that he’s trying to close a case on a drug dealer who murdered his partner.
Although the movie tries to strike this serious tone in the beginning, it’s quickly tossed aside moments later in favor of outright comedy and shameless violence, which is really the film’s strengths.
The film makes sure you know it’s everything it says it is: A buddy-cop action comedy. The film hits all of those points successfully with Bautista as the boarish, ultra-violent, dad out of time and Nanjiani as the socially conscious, deadpan jokester and unlikely hero. But it’s where the film deviates from this mantra that it goes off the rails. Stu is in love with his best friend, Becca and when she breaks up with her super hot boyfriend, and invites him over for a nightcap, he can’t wait to get there if only Vic would stop kidnapping him. And even though Betty Gilpin has some great one-liners, she’s underutilized to the point of irrelevance, and is only added as an obstacle for Stu’s character. It’s a love story we, and clearly the directors, weren’t that interested in.
The same is true for the side story involving Vic’s character. He’s so distracted by his need for revenge, he’s neglected his only daughter, played by Natalie Morales. She too is sufficient in her role, but also is vastly underutilized til the 3rd act of the film, it’s when they try to use her to explore depth with Vic’s character, it’s already too late in the film to care about the impact of her importance to him.
But where this film can certainly hang its hat is on its humor. Nanjiani’s deadpan style of humor meshes so well with Bautista’s physical style of comedy. The two have instant chemistry which comes alive during the outrageous shenanigans they get into and even in the comically over-the-top violence throughout the film. A scene where a club manager chastises a male dancer will have your gut busting. And if that won’t do it, a shoot-out in an Animal Clinic should take the cake.
Overall, Stuber has enough laughs to keep you til the end of the film. There are some predictable moments, but it still has us clamoring for a sequel, which we’re pretty sure is going to be called Styft…
(Get it? Cause his name’s Stu…and now he drives for Ly… nevermind.)