is another one of those movies where an average guy finds himself dragged unwillingly into a crime situation by a hard-nosed cop. The cop this time around is Vic Manning, played by Dave Bautista. The average guy is Stu, played by Kumail Nanjiani, who works part-time as an Uber driver. The title of the film comes from the fact that everyone calls him "Stuber", because of his name and his occupation.
The film opens with a shootout and chase scene that is shot as if the cameraman is constantly wobbling around, and just could not stay steady on his feet. (Fortunately, the rest of the movie is not filmed this way.) Vic and his partner are close to bringing down a crime kingpin (Iko Uwais), but the partner is killed in the exchange, and the villain gets away. Six months later, Vic gets a tip on the kingpin's location, and wants to track him down. Unfortunately, he just had laser eye surgery, and can't see very well. This leads to a series of gags that seem lifted directly out of the old Mr. Magoo
cartoons, as Vic somehow thinks he can drive while he is practically blind. After some failed attempts at getting around, he calls an Uber, and winds up getting Stu for his driver. The two become unwilling and unlikely partners as Vic tries to track down his partner's killer, while Stu gets dragged along.
Both Bautista and Nanjiani are funny actors, but are cashing paychecks here, playing character types they could do in their sleep. Bautista, so memorable in the Guardians of the Galaxy
movies, is playing a tough as nails cop who uses as many four-letter words in his dialogue as possible. Nanjiani, who just two years ago co-wrote and starred in the wonderful romantic comedy The Big Sick
, is the sensitive type in touch with his feelings, afraid to admit his love for the woman he likes, can't stand up to his jerk of a boss at the big box store he works at most of the time, and likes to reference movies a lot. The comedy is supposed to come from how different these guys are, but the energy and the chemistry is just not there. The movie seems to know this, so it throws in a subplot for Bautista's character, giving him an adult daughter (Natalie Morales) that he doesn't pay enough attention to, and never has time for.
is very minor. It knows it doesn't really have to be all that good. Just give the audience some car chases and gunfights, and have the two main characters comically bicker back and forth for most of its running time, then call it a day. The inescapable fact is that the movie is utterly unnecessary. The only reason it got made is because people showed up to get paid. It plays like a filmed deal. The film is one of those safe packages that studio executives love, because there is no risk involved. You hear the premise, and you can pretty much picture the ad campaign in your head. All you need are talented stars willing to work below their ability, a director who has mostly worked in television, and a writer who doesn't care if the script is exactly like dozens of other movies just like it. They just want the paid writing job.
If you watch the trailer for this movie, you'll know exactly what to expect. Just imagine it stretched to 95 minutes, and you'll have saved yourself the ticket price. Seeing stars like Bautista and Nanjiani plugged into such generic roles is depressing, because you know they deserve so much better than this. If you want to see the level of imagination this movie holds, just scroll back up to the very top of this review, and glance at the poster image.