Movie Review Monday: Stuber
Among the new releases this weekend was the action comedy, Stuber. It was directed by Michael Dowse, and it was written by Tripper Clancy. Technically released by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures after their acquirement of 20th Century Fox, the film follows an Uber driver who unwillingly becomes a part of a police officer’s operation. Kumail Nanjiani stars as the Uber driver, Stu, and Dave Bautista co-stars as LAPD detective, Victor (Vic) Manning. The movie also includes performances from Iko Uwais, Natalie Morales, Betty Gilpin, Jimmy Tatro, Mira Sorvino, and Karen Gillan.
The film begins with Victor Manning and his partner, Sarah, tracking down a drug trafficker named Oka Teijo at a hotel. Once they arrive at his suite, a gunfight commences, and while his accomplices are killed, Teijo manages to escape the room. Morris runs after Teijo, but by the time Vic catches up to them, Morris has been shot. The story picks up a little while later and shows Vic still trying to track Teijo despite the case being handed over to the feds. Stu is also introduced as a retail employee who drives an Uber several evenings to earn some extra cash. Vic lets the investigation go during his scheduled lasik surgery, but he receives a tip about Teijo’s whereabouts during his recovery. Being unable to drive, Vic requests an Uber driver to pick him up, which leads to Vic and Stu both signing up for more than they expected.
Stuber is exactly what you would expect from a ridiculous action comedy inspired by buddy cop films of the past. It is a lot of fun, and while the story is undeniably ridiculous, it’s enjoyable to see these two drastically different characters forced into a story and electric vehicle together. While it’s not very realistic that a cop would team up with an Uber drive or arm him with a gun, the story does provide some fairly compelling reasons as to why Stu sticks it out. This is especially true once the bad guys connect him and his license plate to Vic and threaten him. The movie also provides some interesting comments about toxic masculinity, and its opening sequence does set up the rest of the story well.
While the fun and humor in the film take center stage, the duo of Nanjiani and Bautista are what carry the film. They are a fantastic odd couple on screen, and the characters’ differing viewpoints and approaches to life provide for a lot of hilarious moments. Between wrong names, heart-to-hearts with male strippers, and blowing up a vehicle in true Jaws style, there is not a lot of downtime between laughs. The film keeps the one-liners and pop culture references consistent, and the way they introduce Vic to Uber and its services is well done. This is also where Natalie Morales should be commended for her performance as Vic’s daughter, who brings a lot of heart to the film and some depth to Vic’s character.
At the end of the day, Stuber is a fun comedy perfect for the summer season. It has several running gags that pay off in the film, and the two leads are a perfect duo for this crazy adventure. It also contains a killer soundtrack and some fight sequences that are sure to keep audiences laughing. It does get fairly violent at times, and it is far from a perfect story. However, I think it’s fair to say that Stuber is a thoroughly enjoyable comedy and a worthwhile trip to the movies for comedy fans.
Mollie is a film enthusiast, aspiring writer/screenwriter, and a lover of all things Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Doctor Who. She is the co-founder of The Digital Shore (@thedigitalshore) and Above The Line (@atl_movies). You can follow her many adventures through Twitter and Instagram at @mcbeach.