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The film already starts in the worst way possible, shakycam. Because everyone loves this so much, they'll use this in almost every action scene to make sure you get a headache while watching this and forget about the awful jokes. L.A.P.D. partners Vic (Dave Bautista) and Sarah (Karen Gillan), who also seem to be great friends, are discussing if Vic's grown daughter (Natalie Morales) is having anal sex, while chasing Oka Teijo (Iko Uwais), a drug dealer. After an unfortunate conclusion to this chase, everything suddenly becomes more personal for Vic.
Kumail Nanjiani plays Stu. Who drives an Uber after work. That's where the title comes from *sigh*. Anyway, he works a day job in some sort of Walmart where his childish boss loves to treat him like a punching bag. Stu is also starting a small business with his best friend Becca (Betty Gilpin), who he has had a crush on since college, but doesn't have the balls to tell her and so he joins her dream to start a spin-cycle business, called Spinster, to underline his feminine side to audiences even more. When picking up Vic, who's just had laser surgery and crashed his car while in pursuit of Teijo, the duo goes on a drive around Los Angeles, visiting male strip clubs - because a large penis is still the gag of the century - and stereotypical gang hideouts filled with Latino gangsters in a suburban part of the city. And the most unbelievable part of it all, Stu is going along with all of this because he's so desperate for a perfect rating from his clearly demented passenger.
Stu cries over not being able to get his longtime crush Becca's attention. Lots of people in my half full screening, found his overacted ASMR-voice and screaming the funniest thing ever, while I just got more and more annoyed at it. Stu is also opposed to violence. On the other hand, we get Vic, the hypermasculine, clumsy cop who bumps into everything that's on his path because of his fading eyesight. This attempt for laughs gets old very fast. But as things go, coupling these two very different men, is apparently the best thing they could think of while writing the script.
Watching a cast, who has been doing fine for the last couple of years - both critically and commercially, acting this poorly is a serious slap in the face. The way they deliver scriptwriter Trippy Clancy's lines, is both unfunny and probably read a lot better on paper than translating it to the big screen. I hope they get back to what they were doing with their careers, and stop paying attention to car crashes like this.
As buddy-movies go, Stu and Vic get to know each other better and start to get along in their own quirky ways, with Vic embracing his sensitive side and Stu realising that it's okay to be ultra-violent when showing off your masculinity.
Michael Dowse's Uber commercial Stuber is an uninspired slog from the very first scene. The entire film feels out of date by at least a decade. Who knew physical comedy was still a thing in 2019? If you're still holding on to Jim Carrey's career from the '90s (don't get me wrong, I grew up with his films and loved them - but that sort of comedy died with his career - until he reinvented himself), then you'll love everything Stuber delivers for 90 minutes. For me, this was like dying and being stuck in purgatory. Ironically, I'd give Stu one star on Uber, just like I'm doing with this film.
In a way it is one of those buddy cop movies, and I don't mind the occasional buddy cop movies - they are cool, and you generally know what to expect. Mind you, they also tend to be incredibly unrealistic, considering the stuff that Vic pulled off in this film. Also, being a lawyer, I also wonder whether he has breached so many laws that the bad guy ends up getting off on a technicality (which is probably why they end up shooting them anyway).
Look, it did have some funny moments in it, but honestly, it was so mind numbingly predictable that I really wanted to hit my head against a wall at times. Yeah, I knew who the Uber driver was going to end up pairing up with at the end, and like most Hollywood movies, it isn't the girl that he has been pinning over for so long.
Of course, there is also the question of 'what's the damage'. Yeah, I sort of wonder how an Uber driver, on the small amounts of money that he earns, is going to be able to survive after these shenanigans. And of course, I also wonder how our not so friendly cop is going to pay for all of this as well.
Oh, I probably should mention, that the reason the cop has an Uber driver is because he is blind - he starts off with glasses, but has laser eye surgery, and then gets a lead that he has to follow. Of course, having a half blind cop is probably something that adds a bit to the film, and they do play it up for what its worth. Still, in the end, even with that, it is pretty bad.
Save yourself the time and money, just watch the trailer over and over again.
I love the two main actors (Kumail Nanjiani & Dave Bautista); however, the writing is horrible, and certain scenes seem to be simply fluff or filler content that drag on. I literally fell asleep twice for a few minutes.
Again, I'm still a fan of Kumail Nanjiani & Dave Bautista, but this movie is pure crap!
What a rip off!
The film centers around a highly aggressive LAPD officer (Bautista) looking for a brutal heroin dealer. However, he cannot drive to the locations that he needs to go to due to his Lasik surgery affecting his vision. As a result, he gets in an Uber with a mild-mannered, composed driver (Nanjiani) trying to keep his star rating up, who has to keep going around with him to stop the dealer. The film's plot generally consists of going from point A to point B and point C, which is fine, but the story's narrative never manages to take any structural risks. As a comedy, "Stuber" falls pretty flat. While there are a few mildly amusing lines of dialogue, the humor is an awkward mishmash of cheap jokes about Uber, raunchy R-rated jokes, weak puns, and erratic pop culture references. None of the jokes or "points" of the narrative really add up to much significant. The more over-the-top moments in the film tend to rely on shock value just for the sake of it, unlike the better R-rated comedies that balance wit, irony, and strong writing with over-the-top content.
One of the film's biggest problems is its characterization. The film's two lead characters are far too "on the nose" to the point that it becomes difficult to even remotely suspend one's disbelief. This makes the characters more annoying than funny or amusing. The film's supporting characters are also embarrassingly written as their characterization is both paper-thin and of little prominence to the greater story arc as a whole. The actions of these poorly depicted characters end up serving as glaring clichés. While the film's (surprisingly intense) action is generally well-choreographed, that is the only thing recommendable about this otherwise disastrous action-comedy. Even though Stu wants to earn a five-star rating in this movie, the film itself is only deserving of 1 star. 2/10
Another Woman of Color
In the film, police officer Vic Manning (Dave Bautista) had his eyes lasered, so he had to take it easy for a few days and actually was not allowed to work. If he receives information that drug criminal Oka Tedjo (Iko Uwais), who has been chasing him for a long time, has planned another drug action, Vic wants to try and stop him and arrest him. Vic therefore decides to arrange an Uber. Uber driver Stu (Kumail Nanjiani) is an honest but sober man who tries to do everything to get a five-star rating from his passengers. With Vic as his passenger, he suddenly experiences an exciting danger where he must serve as a driver and as a couple of extra good eyes. To give Vic a good service and hopefully to be worthy of a five-star rating, Stu must learn to undergo more dangerous activities, which he preferred to avoid for this ride in his quiet life.
This is an exaggerated but entertaining action comedy if you don't expect too much. The far-fetched extreme action scenes provide the best entertainment. The comedy surrounding the action can cause some chuckling, but is further disappointing compared to the action in this film. The most entertaining comedy elements are also repeated too often, so that after the umpteenth time they are no longer so funny. The agent in the film, for example, sees poorly and often thinks he sees something while it is actually something else, or he runs into something again for the umpteenth time. The comedy and the rest of the story also become somewhat predictable at a point in the film. As a viewer you can see what will happen and where they will go with the story.
The acting is done nicely by the two main characters. Dave Bautista and Kumail Nanjiani are opposed to each other physically and personally in the film, but during the film they learn that they are necessary to each other and that they can learn from each other. Dave Bautista takes care of the entertaining exaggerated action in the film and Kuamil Nanjiani tries to provide some comic moments during the Uber ride.
Following Vic Manning (Dave Bautista), a police officer who has been having trouble with his eyesight, he finds himself being picked up by Stu (Kumail Nanjiani), an Uber driver with no self-confidence, and together they end up working a violent case that Vic has been involved in for a while. Obviously, with a premise like this, chaos begins to ensue and the movie becomes more about the characters than the overall plot, and while that does work sometimes, Stuber is far too cliche of a comedy to really feel for them or get any big laughs in general.
Going into this movie, I was already a huge fan of Kumail Nanjiani and Dave Bautista. Both for different reasons, but I was curious to see what they could bring to the table as an unlikely duo. They're easily the sole aspect that made this movie remotely enjoyable. There are a few instances that had me chuckling, but from set-ups that will clearly pay-off in the final act to over-the-top fight scenes to keep the audience engaged, a lot of this movie felt forced.
On top of the forced nature of these elements, the overall direction of the action sequences was terrible in my opinion. With the use of the visceral shaky-cam technique, the action honestly felt like it belonged in a different movie altogether. Directed by Michael Dowse, I'm a fan of his movies Take Me Home Tonight, Goon, and The F Word, but those movies aren't exactly known for having good action scenes. I would say that this particular piece of directing felt like a mixture of action and comedy that didn't quite blend very well overall.
In the end, Stuber begins as a fine concept (which is also great advertising for the Uber app) but ultimately plummets as it tries to be funny during moments that would have otherwise been taken seriously during a dramatic film. The two leading men are a blast to watch, even if they aren't given much to work with, and I believe they would've made an even better team with better material. Stuber had potential in theory, but the execution is everything and this one missed the mark for me, more often than not.
Stunner suffers from the fact that neither Kumail Nanjiani or Dave Bautista are "leading men." They have proven that they are great sidekicks and supporting actors-however, here, they fail to command the screen. The comedic moments fall flat and, more often than not, you can guess where they are going with a joke. It isn't very fresh humor. You can tell the director often had the actors riff during comedic moments-however it comes across as comedians riffing and as such it doesn't seem as funny. This movie is like a Batman movie with two Robins and no Batman.
The storyline is a recycled "buddy cop action comedy" story-the characters are generic-and they tend to get a little too preachy with the "it is 2019 it's okay for Men to cry" message.
It passed the time, but I wouldn't recommend it or watch it again.
Stu, as cranked up to 10 by Kumail Nanjiani, is the kind of guy we've come to know over years in these kind of comedies. Aimless in life, pining for the love of his life who he is waiting for as opposed to going after, and a push over to the younger, dimwitted, abusive manager at a job he hates for a sporting good store, this is exactly the kind of character we expect to see as a lead for this kind of movie. Fulfilling the dominant co-lead archetype is Bautista's alpha cop, Vic, who has his own issues in his obsession for bad guy Tedjo, played by a very game and entertaining Iko Kuwais, which has very nearly cost him his relationship with his daughter. Creatively forced to get a ride through Uber, Vic essentially kidnaps Stu and forces him on a buddy-cop journey through LA. The premise works better than it really should have, though within the first 30 minutes, it becomes apparent just how dimwitted the match up is. Stu being so spineless that he basically allows the overly aggressive and angry Vic kidnap him comes across as little more than an excuse to keep these two together. Sadly, neither Bautista, nor Kumail ever really feel like guys you want to follow. Now, I like these two, Kumail is great in Silicon Valley and Bautista proved himself capable of being a star in Guardians, but here they are their worst stereotypes. Stu is incessantly spineless, constantly whining without ever actually doing anything (like, oh, I don't know, calling the LAPD to complain that one of their own has kidnapped someone), and Vic is an alpha who constantly angry and makes decisions as a cop that seem archaic by about a decade.
The movie has some mildly amusing scenes and fairs better in the action department than I expected, but it's so laden with cliches, I am hard pressed to care. The best comedies today surprise or feel genuine. We can relate to the characters we're seeing on screen and accept even ridiculous, grand adventures they may go on. You can turn to Apatow or David Gordon Green or Adam McKay. These guys have all delivered similar comedies with similar characters, but they make their leads feel like more than just typical movie cliches cranked up. By the time our leads predictably grow and change for the better, we just don't care. We've seen it before and it's not entertaining. But again, this is a harmless movie. It doesn't really offend or do anything risky enough to turn off viewers. Some may be turned off by it's more modern sensibilities and attempts at deconstructing alpha masculinity. But these things are so insignificant in a movie that doesn't really matter anyway, I can't imagine anyone but the most triggered of people to look that deeply at it.
In a summer that has, at times, felt lazy, and at others been very entertaining and engaging, this movie feels like the former. I imagine it was fun for it's leads, who don't get to lead a major film too often, and hopefully it will get them more lead roles in major films in the future, but here they're just way too engaged in this material and too one dimensional to make the film memorable. This will be a rental for most, and a forgettable one at that.