Stuber

 

starstar

 


A blind cop takes an uber driver hostage in a bloodthirsty romp starved of laughs.

   

Stuber

Chemical imbalance: Kumail Nanjiani and Dave Bautista 

  

Stuber is not a great title, but it has its reasons. You see, Stu is an uber driver. And that’s as funny as the film gets. But while ‘stu’ is also short for ‘stupid,’ Stu (Kumail Nanjiani) does not deserve what’s coming. A fastidious driver obsessed with his star rating, Stu purrs around the streets of Los Angeles in his electric car, giving it a quick polish in-between rides. He’s also in love with Becca (Betty Gilpin), with whom he’s setting up a spin gym business called Spinster, in which he’s invested his savings. Things are looking up when Becca invites him round to watch When Harry Met Sally and get physical, but Stu has one final passenger before he can call it a day. The latter is Vic Banning (Dave Bautista), a manic half-blind cop who’s on the trail of a terrorist who has killed his partner. The big question is not whether Vic will catch his man, but whether Stu will make his date.

 

In theory, there’s no reason why this premise shouldn’t work. However, the slapstick approach, the weak one-liners and the carefree violence are major problems. But even these failings could have passed muster had the characters jelled. A former mixed martial artist, wrestler and six-time World Heavyweight Champion, Bautista is thrusting his way into Dwayne Johnson territory. But while Bautista exhibited an infectious laugh in the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, Stuber is no laughing matter. His aggressive, callous cop has none of the charm or comic timing of The Rock and is just an obnoxious buffoon. Likewise, the prissy, anally retentive Stu is not much fun either, although he’s almost real enough for us to care for his worsening predicament. No doubt there is an audience for such lazy, hard-nosed horseplay, but high-octane action and film referencing (in Hollywood, Jaws seems to get a mention every month) do not a classic make. Any film which sees its protagonist buff the leather of his car seats can see where the film is heading, but such schadenfreude does not work in Stu’s favour. I’d give Stu his five stars but the film deserves no more than two.

 

JAMES CAMERON-WILSON

 

Cast: Dave Bautista, Kumail Nanjiani, Iko Uwais, Natalie Morales, Betty Gilpin, Jimmy Tatro, Steve Howey, Mira Sorvino, Karen Gillan, Rene Moran, Amin Joseph.

 

Dir Michael Dowse, Pro Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley, Screenplay Tripper Clancy, Ph Bobby Shore, Pro Des Naaman Marshall, Ed Jonathan Schwartz, Music Joseph Trapanese, Costumes Leigh Leverett.

 

20th Century Fox/GoldDay Productions-20th Century Fox.

93 mins. USA. 2019. Rel: 12 July 2019. Cert. 15.