In what feels like the longest advert for Uber on record, Stuber is a somewhat enjoyable, sometimes funny flick, crammed full of shootouts and high-speed car chases. Ultimately, however, it loses gas – in a big way. A portmanteau of the main character’s name and the famous ridesharing app (yes, really), Stuber stars both resident funny man Kumail Nanjiani and Dave Bautista as the unlikely duo at its centre. Cue a handful of forgettable characters, a formulaic plot and a shameless helping of slapstick humour thrown in for good measure.
Directed by Michael Dowse, the buddy-cop-esque comedy follows Uber driver Stu (Nanjiani) as he unwittingly finds himself caught in a perilous mission to avenge the death of Sara aka “Morris” (Karen Gillan), the former partner of Detective Vic Manning (Bautista). Vic has recently had Lasik eye surgery, and subsequently relies on Stu to drive him to various increasingly dangerous locations, as they inch ever closer to the bad guy responsible. Bautista frequently falls over things to really drive the whole “I can’t quite see yet” point home. There are some not-so-interesting subplots, namely Vic’s strained relationship with his daughter Nicole (Natalie Morales) and Stu’s unrequited love for his best friend Becca (Betty Gilpin), who he spends much of the film trying to meet up with. Neither storyline adds much, instead feeling more like a feeble attempt at padding out an otherwise hollow script.
Nanjiani is the strongest link, eliciting as many laughs as can be had with the pretty mediocre material he’s been given. Bautista as the aggressively tough guy has his moments, but overall his performance falls a little flat. The supporting cast – including Mira Sorvino and Jimmy Tatro as Stu’s cringe-inducing boss – are underused, leaving no one to really care about outside of the two central characters. Even the main antagonist, Oka Teijo (played by Iko Uwais), barely gets any screen time, which, combined with an anticlimactic final standoff with Stu and Vic, makes for a rather lacklustre finale.
The only real saving grace here is the occasional funny line or scene scattered throughout. However, these err mostly on the side of the ridiculous rather than the amusing. The soundtrack is also worth a mention, with Dowse purposefully using unexpected tunes to punctuate the fight scenes. Ultimately, though, this is just another comedy about an odd couple with lukewarm chemistry, navigating their way around a sub-par plot. While Stu spends most of the film trying to achieve that highly sought-after 5-star Uber rating, Stuber looks like it may have to settle for a little less.
Stuber is released nationwide on 12th July 2019.
Watch the trailer for Stuber here: