In Stuber, modern culture meets an old concept in this action-comedy starring Dave Bautista and Kumail Nanjiani. This film places a new twist on the buddy-cop genre when a LAPD officer makes a bad decision to utilize an Uber in his effort to chase vengeance on a big-time drug pusher.
Setting a tone early in the film, we find an opening sequence that makes it obvious plenty of action is coming. Unfortunately, quantity does not mean quality.
Don’t get me wrong. Some of the fight scenes are fun and mesh well with the comedy, but there were just too many times I found myself bored with a flashy attempt at a fist fight or bewildered by the utter nonsense of a shootout.
Kumail Nanjiani is hilarious as Stu, a non-stop source of one-liners. His chemistry with Bautista is obvious as they periodically bounce joke-after-joke off each other. Bautista feels like a human Drax, which is both good and bad. He’s the buff, old-school detective, inexperienced with modern technology. It suits him, but it’s hard to not think of Guardians of the Galaxy during the back-and-forth dialogue with Stu.
Uber’s five star rating system finds itself as the butt of many jokes. The overemphasis on the importance of getting that five-star rating is the driving motive behind Stu’s character. He needs those stars. That and Dave Bautista stole his keys.
The Joke is On Us
There’s nothing innovative about Stuber’s central conflict. This is a classic “good guy seeks revenge” narrative. And, of course, what kind of action comedy would it be if the main protagonist didn’t have a broken relationship with his daughter?
Stu’s backstory is at least a little more entertaining to experience. He’s in love with a girl we all know doesn’t deserve him, and even though we know how it will ultimately play out, we can at least get a few laughs out of it.
Overall, it’s hard to hate this movie. The action is over exaggerated and the whole plot is a little meh, but I laughed throughout the whole thing.
There’s nothing groundbreaking here, but at least it’s a fresh spin on an old concept that I can appreciate. General audiences won’t feel too strongly either way about it. This is worth seeing, but it won’t have people racing to the theaters.
Matrix Grade: 61