Title – Stuber (2019)
Director – Michael Dowse (Goon)
Cast – Dave Bautista, Kumail Nanjiani, Mira Sorvino, Iko Uwais, Betty Gilpin, Karen Gillan
Plot – Uber driver Stu (Najiani) gets more than he bargained for when he picks up detective Vic Manning (Bautista), in what will prove to be a ride he won’t soon forget.
“Lemme guess, you want me to drive you to all the Sarah Connors in the city?”
Review by Eddie on 04/12/2019
Stuber wants badly to act and feel like an 80’s mismatched buddy comedy, and while it tries largely in vain to do so, Michael Dowse’s film fails to bring the laughs while lead pair Dave Bautista and Kumail Nanjiani struggle to build a strong repertoire together as they fumble through this failed exercise.
Set up to be in the same gene pool as heavy hitters such as 48 Hrs, Lethal Weapon and Rush Hour, Stuber on paper appears to be a comedic outing with potential and Dowse has proven with previous directing efforts Goon and What If that he knows his way around a good time but from very early on in Stuber, an ultra-violent, loud and brash modern day comedy, you become aware that the laughs in this Uber-filled outing will be few and far between.
Nothing feels natural in Stuber, from the way in which the bare-bones story takes place with Bautista’s near blind Manning out to track down Iko Uwais’s (in another terrible Hollywood outing) big blonde tipped baddie Oka while saddled up with Nanjiani’s mild-mannered Uber driver Stu, through to the landing of jokes which 90 percent of the time don’t even raise a slight chuckle, let alone a hearty belly laugh.
You feel for Bautista and Nanjiani, as both have shown great comedic antics in the likes of the Guardians of the Galaxy films and The Big Sick respectively but both fail to fire here in a way that’s hard to pin down, we’re left unsure whether it’s the material that was unsalvageable or if the two just don’t really work together, which for a film like this is a sure fire way to ensure failure to launch.
What’s even more disappointing is that in a day and age where big screen cinematic comedy is fighting for its survival, a film conjured up in the spirit of the highs of 80’s comedies feels like something many would enjoy watching and that many would pay good money to see but if this is the type of effort that’s going to be produced and marketed as an outing worth visiting the multiplex for, the genre is in dire straits indeed.
Final Say –
Stuber wants to be a new-age 80’s like comedy but comes across as nothing more than a pale imitation of the films it so desperately wants to be. With two off color leads at its centre and a large payload of unfunny jokes, Stuber is a ride you’re best off avoiding.
1 When Harry Met Sally viewing out of 5