Sunday, 21 July 2019

Review: Stuber

Cert: 15 / 93 mins / Dir. Michael Dowse / Trailer

Y'know not long from now, using Uber as a plot-point in your movie is going to look about as cool as a MySpace reference. Tread carefully, writers. Anyway, Stuber is what happens when you put two supporting actors in leading roles*1 and hope that the goodwill of the audience will fill any gaps.


Kumail Nanjiani plays Stu, an unassuming Uber driver (this is the joke, do you see? Stu. Uber. 'Stuber'. Do you see?) and sporting-goods store clerk who wants to run his own fitness studio. Dave Bautista plays Vic, an bullish yet efficient police officer who is recovering from laser eye-surgery, meaning he can't drive his own car. Vic books a car via the aforementioned app, and Stu ends up being his unwitting partner in law-enforcement for the day. As this odd couple learn to get along, each realises that the other is exactly what they need right now, and of course there's plenty of ha-ha-hilarity along the way! Also, a lot of people get shot in the face.

Well, if you're in the market for an hour and a half of gunfire and wide-eyed shrieking, your cab has arrived. Apparently Dave Bautista myopically bumping into shit is the new 'Kevin James Falls Over For An Hour And A Half'. When it's being a lightheared actioner, Stuber is just about passable. When the movie is being an outright comedy it really struggles. Which is odd, because both of its starts can do comedy, they're just choosing not to. There's more grunting and tyre-screeching than dialogue in this movie, and Dave still has too many lines. The reason Drax worked is because he didn't say that much.


The frustrated bickering between the two leads means the film squeaks past the six-laugh-test, but only just. In many ways it's a shame that director Michael Dowse is such a fan of bad language and gratuitous headshots, because at heart this is a kids' comedy*2. A buddy-cop movie where only one of them is the cop, this isn't awful but it's certainly unapologetic Filler™. Failing whenever it tries to take itself too seriously (so the first and third acts, basically), the number of quips in the trailer that don't make it into the final cut suggest thousands of miles of B-roll footage (not to mention slack direction). Pity the film's editor, if nothing else.

The likeability of its cast isn't enough to save Stuber, but it may just be enough to elevate it to 'conveniently forgettable'…

So, what sort of thing is it similar to?
Well put it this way, I see Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg have stopped returning 20th Century Fox's calls...

Is it worth paying cinema-prices to see?
Not particularly.

Is it worth hunting out on DVD, Blu-ray or streaming, though?
Stream it, if you must.

Is this the best work of the cast or director?

Will we disagree about this film in a pub?
That's entirely possible yes.

Is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?
There isn't.

Yeah but what's the Star Wars connection?
Level 1: Razoo Quin-Fee and Jarek Yeager are in this.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

*1 "Oh" you exclaim, "Kumail Nanjiani isn't a supporting actor, he was the main dude in The Big Sick!". Yes. This is precisely my point, thank you. [ BACK ]

*2 After saying that he'd "rather do good films", Bautista has made a PG version of this exact fucking thing again before the paint's even dry on Stuber. Go and think about what you've done, Dave. And don't be 'baffled' when you get called out, it's just that having fun on-set does not automatically result in a fun movie… [ BACK ]

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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