Dave Bautista and Kumail Nanjiani are the latest Hollywood pair to team up for an unlikely duo/buddy cop caper. ‘Stuber’ tells the story of Stu (Nanjiani), an Uber driver who unwillingly becomes part of a criminal investigation when he picks up LAPD detective, Victor (Bautista) as his next passenger. So is ‘Stuber’ going to be riding shotgun at the summer box office or is it a cinematic, comedy car crash?
Well other than the cleverly punny title and premise, incorporating an Uber driver into this kind of genre, the film doesn’t really make any new ground. It’s fairly familiar in terms of what we’ve seen from this genre over the years. So whilst there’s nothing particularly engaging about the narrative the pacing of the film is done well, never getting stuck in any celluloid traffic jams. As is to be expected in the buddy cop genre, ‘Stuber’ features quite a bit of action. This is serviceable but could have done with a whole lot less shaky cam, although we can appreciate how scary it must be filming full tilt Dave Bautista. Ultimately, it works better when it focuses more on the comedic elements rather than trying to achieve any kind of serious action spectacle.
The two leads, along with the rest of the cast, give spirited performances. Bautista is believable as the beef cake cop, even if some of his dialogue is hard to make out under that grizzly voice of his. Whereas, Nanjiani is a naturally funny guy which really helps the film but he’s always better than the material he has to work with here. The pair generate a good level of chemistry but nothing out of the ordinary or especially memorable. Similarly the comedy is just fine, there’s nothing hilarious here and most of the gags that are effective come from popular culture references. However, there’s enough amusement here to keep audiences just about satisfied for the duration of their big screen journey.
In the end ‘Stuber’ is a harmless attempt at creating a fresh take on an old genre. The more unique premise makes way for some good gags but other than these and a handful of other successful jokes ‘Stuber’ just isn’t funny enough to be worth recommending. However, you’ll be thankful that if you do end up seeing it the lead cast stop it from ever becoming a drag with their very watchable performances. However, your Uber ride home from the film theatre could well prove more memorable than the film itself.
Written by Hamish Calvert
Star Rating –★★
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Thanks to Movie House Cinemas for screening access