One of them is fresh, hilarious and oh-so-charming. Stuber is the other one.
If you buy a ticket expecting Stuber to be anything other than a staid, brainless exercise in mild amusement, the joke’s on you. And it’s not a particular funny joke.
Movies like Stuber have a purpose. It’s the ultimate switch-off movie that requires nothing of you except to suspend your disbelief — not because it’s fantasy, magical realism or sci-fi but because it’s riddled with plotholes and makes no logical sense.
Sometimes, very occasionally, you’re in the mood for that kind of thing. Like, on a plane and you desperately want to fall asleep, or when you’re still woozy from the night before on a Sunday.
Vic (Dave Bautista) is a hard-nosed LAPD detective with a grudge against the drug trafficker who killed his partner. Burdened by myopia, Vic decides to get laser eye surgery on the same day he gets a tip-off that el-druggo fiend has resurfaced.
Only now Vic can’t actually see. So he calls an Uber, which is how Vic meets Stu (Kumail Nanjiani).
(Yes, that’s why it’s called Stuber.)
Stu desperately needs to maintain his star rating after a series of unfortunate, not-his-fault one-star reviews. Which is the only reason Stu keeps going along with Vic’s crazy mission — he needs that five-star rating, dammit.
In a series of escalating insane and outrageous — yet also predictable and boring — violent set-pieces, Vic and Stu find themselves in the literal line of fire.
You know exactly how this movie goes. No twist, car chase or shootout will surprise you. It follows a paint-by-numbers formula, and that’s partly why movies like this go into production.
So the thing that’s supposed to differentiate Stuber is how Bautista and Nanjiani acquaint themselves and if they manage to squeeze some laughs in during its 90-minute run.
Nanjiani is reliably droll, and he’s the only reason Stuber is not a complete waste of time. His exasperated and sarcastic delivery cuts through the dross and gets in a few chuckles — he really is a great comedic talent.
Bautista fills the minimum requirement as the “action” half of the duo, mostly muscling and growling his way through. When given better material, such as his Drax character in the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, Bautista can be really funny. Stuber is not that better material.
There are subplots involving Stu’s love interest Becca (Betty Gilpin) and Vic’s daughter Nicole (Natalie Morales) but they add little to the overall movie.
The one thing that really baffles is director Michael Dowse’s previous feature, sweet and smart rom-com What If?, is actually quite good. Not sure what happened here.
Stuber is a lumbering, tired and dumb comedy, but if that’s what you’re looking for, then have at it.
Stuber is in cinemas now
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