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‘Stuber’ Review: Not a 5 Star Ride, But It’s Still a Fun, Comedic Trip


Photo courtesy 20th Century Fox

Written by Ben Murchison

Sometimes approaching a movie with low expectations can result in an unexpected good time. If you go into Stuber expecting a mostly formulaic tough guy and reluctant companion action comedy, you are on the right track. If you think that it’s another movie where they used up the best jokes in the trailer, you should be pleasantly surprised.

As a rule for these kinds of films, if you are a fan of the main actors and appreciate their style of comedy and delivery, then all it needs is half a narrative to give them a vehicle to exist. In Stuber, the narrative penned by Tripper Clancy focuses on Detective Vic Manning (Dave Bautista) as he tracks Tedjo (Iko Uwais), the man who killed his partner (Karen Gillan). In a twist of bad timing, he finally gets a big lead to pursue, fresh out of LASIK eye surgery.

After learning the hard way that he can’t drive himself in his current state, he uses the app his daughter Nicole (Natalie Morales) downloaded for him to call an Uber. The unlucky driver Stu (Kumail Nanjiani) is then forced to join Vic in his pursuit, partially under constant threat and chiding, but mostly because he desperately needs a 5-star rating.

The movie starts on shaky ground. The opening action sequence featuring a hand to hand fight between Vic and Tedjo is almost unwatchable with how much the camera moves around and the number of cuts used. Uwais is largely underutilized as the main antagonist throughout, as director Michael Dowse rarely showcases his abilities and athleticism. Instead, it seems he realizes that Stuber has a better chance of success leaning on comedy than the explicit but rather mundane action sequences. Both Bautista and Nanjiani can play to their strengths and save a film that otherwise would rely primarily on two recurring jokes: Vic can’t see well and doesn’t understand how Uber works.

Nanjiani is the perfect person to use deadpan and sarcasm to play off Bautista’s boisterous personality, and the banter includes film references, topical comedy, and other clever riffs. Other standout bits of the movie come from the always funny Jimmy Tatro playing Stu’s boss Richie, and Steve Howey playing a very supportive and insightful male stripper. A good portion of the jokes are edgy, as they are intended to be, and they and  the violence aren’t for anyone with a sensitive stomach for that sort of thing.

There are enough chuckles and big laughs throughout Stuber to deliver a good time if you enjoy the stars and are willing to look past a premise full of more holes than the bad guys wind up with. You won’t be missing anything if you wait to catch this one from the comfort of your own home, but it’s worth its runtime.

Stuber is playing in theaters nationwide.

Ben Murchison
Ben Murchison
Ben Murchison is a regular contributor for TV and Movies. He’s that guy that spends an hour in an IMDb black hole of research about every film and show he watches. Strongly believes Buffy the Vampire Slayer to be the best show to ever exist, and that Peaky Blinders needs more than 6 episodes per series. East Carolina grad, follow on Twitter and IG @bdmurchison.

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