Starring: Dave Bautisata, Kumail Nanjiani, Iko Uwais, Betty Gilpin, Mira Sorvino, Natalie Morales, and Karen Gillan
The film stars Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy) and Kumail Nanjiani (The Big Sick) as Vic and Stu, respectively. Vic, a hardened detective, has a limited amount of time to track down the man who murdered his partner. After having laser eye surgery, he is unable to drive, so he conscripts the unwitting Uber driver Stu, taking him as a hostage for the night. In return for an elusive five star review, Stu drives him to dangerous locations and ends up embroiled in a plot that involves police corruption, drug trafficking, and a memorable brawl in a sporting goods store.
Stuber’s actors all deliver in their respective parts.
Nanjiani is particularly good in his role as the titular character, the neurotic and altogether too picked on Stu.
Bautista demonstrates that he has the charisma and presence to work as a major star. While he may not yet be ready to be a leading man in his own right, he more than acquits himself in the context of this two-hander, keeping up with the experienced comedian Nanjiani.
The chemistry between Bautista and Nanjiani is perhaps Stuber’s best aspect, as the film revolves around their interplay. The film also manages to explore some deeper themes such as toxic masculinity, trauma, and police brutality, albeit in its buddy cop setting.
As a comedy however, Stuber’s script would have benefited from a tune up. While clever, its humour lacks too many memorable jokes. The cop revenge storyline that drives much of Stuber is formulaic in its direction, coming across as the most predictable satnav-directed journey. The jokes involving Uber end up being so on-the-nose that it’s worth asking whether or not the rideshare company had a production credit.
The film also arguably wastes the talents of Karen Gillan, whose role is cruelly confined to the opening.
Despite its flaws, Stuber is a fun ride, and one that should hopefully take Bautista to more prolific vehicles.
Stuber is now playing in cinemas.
Jonathan Foye is Insights’ Editor