“It’s going down tonight.” – Leon

Kumail Nanjiani and Dave Bautista

Dolph Lundgren and Sarah Connor-jokes aside, Stuber is nothing more than a rehash of Schwarzenegger action comedies we’ve seen in the ’90s. Formula filmmaking you can predict before it even happens, with violence that tries to shock but mostly just interrupts whatever is really going on on screen.

The film already starts in the worst way possible, shakycam. Because everyone loves this so much, they’ll use this in almost every action scene to make sure you get a headache while watching this and forget about the awful jokes. L.A.P.D. partners Vic (Dave Bautista) and Sarah (Karen Gillan), who also seem to be great friends, are discussing if Vic’s grown daughter (Natalie Morales) is having anal sex, while chasing Oka Teijo (Iko Uwais), a drug dealer. After an unfortunate conclusion to this chase, everything suddenly becomes more personal for Vic.

Kumail Nanjiani plays Stu. Who drives an Uber after work. That’s where the title comes from sigh. Anyway, he works a day job in some sort of Walmart where his childish boss loves to treat him like a punching bag. Stu is also starting a small business with his best friend Becca (Betty Gilpin), who he has had a crush on since college, but doesn’t have the balls to tell her and so he joins her dream to start a spin-cycle business, called Spinster, to underline his feminine side to audiences even more. When picking up Vic, who’s just had laser surgery and crashed his car while in pursuit of Teijo, the duo goes on a drive around Los Angeles, visiting male strip clubs – because a large penis is still the gag of the century – and stereotypical gang hideouts filled with Latino gangsters in a suburban part of the city. And the most unbelievable part of it all, Stu is going along with all of this because he’s so desperate for a perfect rating from his clearly demented passenger.

Stu cries over not being able to get his longtime crush Becca’s attention. Lots of people in my half full screening, found his overacted ASMR-voice and screaming the funniest thing ever, while I just got more and more annoyed at it. Stu is also opposed to violence. On the other hand, we get Vic, the hypermasculine, clumsy cop who bumps into everything that’s on his path because of his fading eyesight. This attempt for laughs gets old very fast. But as things go, coupling these two very different men, is apparently the best thing they could think of while writing the script.

Watching a cast, who has been doing fine for the last couple of years – both critically and commercially, acting this poorly is a serious slap in the face. The way they deliver scriptwriter Trippy Clancy’s lines, is both unfunny and probably read a lot better on paper than translating it to the big screen. I hope they get back to what they were doing with their careers, and stop paying attention to car crashes like this.

As buddy-movies go, Stu and Vic get to know each other better and start to get along in their own quirky ways, with Vic embracing his sensitive side and Stu realising that it’s okay to be ultra-violent when showing off your masculinity.

Michael Dowse’s Uber commercial Stuber is an uninspired slog from the very first scene. The entire film feels out of date by at least a decade. Who knew physical comedy was still a thing in 2019? If you’re still holding on to Jim Carrey’s career from the ’90s (don’t get me wrong, I grew up with his films and loved them – but that sort of comedy died with his career – until he reinvented himself), then you’ll love everything Stuber delivers for 90 minutes. For me, this was like dying and being stuck in purgatory. Ironically, I’d give Stu one star on Uber, just like I’m doing with this film.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Originally published on novastreamnetwork.com

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