Starring Kumail Nanjiani, Dave Bautista, Iko Uwais, Natalie Morales, Betty Gilpin, Jimmy Tatro, Mira Sorvino, Karen Gillan, Steve Howey, Amin Joseph, Scott Lawrence, Rene Moran, Julia Vasi, Melody Peng, Victoria Anastasi, Malachi Malik, Patricia French, Jay D. Kacho, Lyon Beckwith, Joshua Mikel, Christine Horn and Jennifer Riker.
Screenplay by Tripper Clancy.
Directed by Michael Dowse.
Distributed by Twentieth Century Fox. 93 minutes. Rated R.
The old buddy cop genre – in which two very mismatched individuals are thrown together to solve a crime amidst wisecracks and explosive violence – has been sort of on the shelf for a while. It saw its hey day in the 1980s, starting with the film that exploded the format 48 Hrs, and then spreading like wildfire with the likes of the Lethal Weapon movies, Beverly Hills Cop, Running Scared, Stakeout and Midnight Run. Of course, for every good one, you ran up against terrible ideas like Turner & Hooch and Stop or My Mom Will Shoot.
Of course, there were buddy cop movies before 48 Hrs and there have been many since the 80s, but in the last decade, the pickings have been pretty slim – the forgettable likes of Let’s Be Cops, Cop Out, Bright and Ride Along. So here comes Stuber to resurrect the format. And while it is far from a great film, it’s funnier and more fun than you may expect.
Kumail Nanjiani (The Big Sick, Silicon Valley) plays Stu, a mild-mannered guy who has an unrequited crush on a girl he’s known since college, but he has been totally friend-zoned by her. He unhappily works at a sporting goods superstore and supplements his income by driving an Uber at night. (The film’s awkward title is derived from a derisive nickname which has been thrust upon him by a work frenemy.)
He’s a quiet man with a quiet life – and he is content with that. The most important things to him are helping his crush open her dream spin gym and making sure that his Uber rating does not fall below four stars.
That staid existence is exploded by Vic (former wrestler Dave Bautista of Guardians of the Galaxy and Hotel Artemis), a hardened lone-wolf cop who is in the middle of searching for the crazy gangsta who shot and killed his partner. He has a tip that a gun deal will be going on that night and knows it is the perfect chance to take the perp down. And, oh yeah, he just had Lasik surgery that morning and can barely see.
Since he can’t see, he can’t drive, so instead of reaching out to his fellow officers (there is apparently a mole in the department) he decides to be like one of the kids and hire an Uber.
Oh yeah, you can see where this is going.
Stu picks up Vic and has to spend the night driving him around, surviving sub-machine gun attacks, fights, car chases, art shows, black market hospitals hidden in veterinary clinics, and the constant whining of his wannabe girlfriend, who seems to be depressed and maybe even a little horny. There is pointed banter and outright criticism between the two leads, who are as different as can possibly be. Stu wants nothing more to get away from this loud, violent, loutish fare, but eventually mans up when Stu needs him. And, eventually, they come to respect each other.
There is nothing overly unique or surprising about Stuber, and yet it is rather funny. Partially due to the strong chemistry of the leads, the movie is a good deal better than it probably has any right to be.
A movie like Stuber will never get critical acclaim, and it does not want any. However, this film has a similarly wild and funny un-PC charm as last years Game Night, which may be explained by the fact that it was produced by the makers of that film. There is very little that is deep or profound about Stuber, but it is a lot of fun.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2019 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: July 12, 2019.