There’s standard fare American comedy; a lot of which is lowest common denominator humour and then there’s ‘Stuber’. This is a limp film needing to be put out of its misery that bears no laughter in both its premise and execution.
After laser-eye surgery prevents cop Victor (Dave Bautista) being as capable on the job as he wishes, he has to grab an Uber. The car that arrives is captained by sap Stu (Kumail Nanjiani) and together they’re forced into a hunt across L.A for drug trafficker Teijo (Iko Uwais).
There have been good recent comedies that swirl well choreographed action into the hijinks, such as, ‘Game Night’ and ‘Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle’ but this movie is not one of those. Just from the opening sequence which tries to convey sizzling police-fuelled combat you’ll zone out because it’s horrendously edited. Perhaps the editor also had laser-eye surgery and couldn’t focus on cutting the scene properly as nor will you, trying to watch the frustrating melee of chops. It’s not even sliced erratically in a way that could heighten energy, all it does is bring on an early headache.
Tripper Clancy’s screenplay is painfully predictable; the villainy turns of corruption and the consequential reveal of Stu at Christmas is not a surprise in the slightest, even if the plot thinks it’s a funny zinger to end on. The entire friend zone subplot of Uber driver Stu is more sour than sweet and feels like the thinnest spread of romance lain on top of the worst excuse of comedy and action seen in a while. The film does try changing lanes with this B story at one point but it’s way too little way too late.
‘Stuber’ would be alright if there was a chemistry between Bautista and Nanjiani but that too is missing. It’s like the latter is over-compensating with his desperate pluck to counter-balance the dud actor within the hulking presence of Bautista; a former wrestler who is perfect as Drax but anything else is glaringly noticeable as not good acting. Victor as a character is a towering douchebag with zero to redeem himself whilst Stu is an irritant who serves as the annoying sidekick, his constant desire to please is more boring than funny.
As personal attacks on me as well I have to dislike the film further because it’s a story that does both Karen Gillan and Iko Uwais dirty. Their characters are as two-dimensional as everyone else in the narrative and they have such small, wasted screen time that I cannot help but feel victimised by that.
‘Stuber’ never raises a chuckle, it feels like a rushed action-comedy that you’d watch in 2002 after renting it from a nearby Blockbusters. Absolute drivel that is miles away from a 5 star rating; instead take a walk, enjoy the summer and avoid at all costs.