*This paragraph should be read in that deep, gravelly voice that the guy who narrates movie trailers uses.
Vic Manning is a no-nonsense cop who can't see much of anything at all. Stu is an Uber driver who's opening a women-only spinning gym called "Spinsters." After Vic gets some poorly timed LASIK surgery, he commandeers Stu and his hilarious electric car to chase the deadly drug trafficker who murdered his partner. Then Vic yells like this: "RAWRRRRRR" and Stu yells like this: "EEEEEEEEEEEEK!" This summer, they'll scream their way into multiplexes—two mismatched goofballs leaving a bloody swath of mayhem across the City of Angels and directly into your heart.
*You can stop with the voice now.
- Courtesy Disney
- It's like "Lethal Weapon" if everyone was yelling all the time.
Seriously though, "Stuber" might not be a great movie, or even one that makes much sense if you stop to think about it, but it's fast-paced and entertaining without really aspiring to be much more than that. The combination of Kumail Nanjiani and Dave Bautista is inspired and they have enough chemistry to carry the movie just on their relationship alone.
Really, the main issue with the movie is that it tries to justify too much of its plot with more plot. I get it, there have to be bad guys for this to be an action/comedy, but by the end we've seen double crosses, moles, set-ups and a twist ending...none of which the film needed. I get that the script has to justify Bautista needing an Uber, but Blind Bautista is funny enough that I don't need all the fuss about why. Chekhov's LASIK just didn't work for me.
Aside from Nanjiani and Bautista, the cast is packed with unique comedic voices. Natalie Morales is one of the most comedic actresses of her generation. She's plays Bautista's estranged daughter, nothing more than a plot device. "Glow's" absolutely hysterical Betty Gilpin is Najiani's clueless love interest—also nothing more than a plot device. Mira Sorvino and Karen Gillen are given more to do than just dote over men, but still just service the story.
International action superstar Iko Uwais gets to be evil as hell and have a giant fight with Bautista, Jimmy Tatro from "American Vandal" gets to chew scenery and Steve Howey ("Shameless") almost steals the whole movie as a male stripper with self-esteem issues. They all have characters to play, adding dimension and shading to the world of "Stuber" (can we call it the "Stuberverse?), but it's almost like the women weren't really allowed to come play.
With buddy comedies like "Stuber," you already know the beats that are coming and that the heroes will learn valuable lessons throughout the film and change into better people by the end. The problem with that: It only gives Bautista and Nanjiani one note to play for the entire film. Bautista is angry and Nanjiani is scared. We've seen movies before, so we know that by the end Bautista will become more likable and Nanjiani will find his courage. But until then we have to deal with the characters literally screaming almost the entire time. Even at a brisk 90 minutes, that's a long time to be yelled at.
I know I sound like a snob and that I hated the movie, but I really didn't. It's a ton of fun to watch and only curdled, in retrospect, when I actually had to sit down and think about it. As annoying and imperfect as this movie is, I'd still watch Najiani and Bautista team up again, maybe as undercover cops on a cruise ship or as a pair of lovers mistaken for hitmen. Anything, Hollywood. These guys are good.
Dir. Michael Dowse
Old Mill Stadium 16 & IMAX, Sisters Movie House, Redmond Cinema