The flawed yet funny “Stuber” captures the retro 80s buddy comedy feel in a modern day setting. The movie is far from perfect but has it all: action, comedy, mystery, and adventure, all set on the streets of Los Angeles.
It’s a typical evening for mild-mannered Uber driver Stu (Kumail Nanjiani), a man who works at a big box store during the day and moonlights for cash as a driver at night. When Stu picks up a strange, hyper-masculine passenger named Vic (Dave Bautista), it’s eventually revealed the man is a cop hot on the trail of a brutal killer. Stu is unwittingly thrust into a dangerous role where he faces shootouts, knife fights, and an unhappy would-be girlfriend (Betty Gilpin) as he tries to protect his life and his 5-star Uber rating.
It’s a fun spin on the tried-and-true formula where polar opposites become unlikely partners. Nanjiani and Bautista individually have charismatic personas and when put together, their chemistry is lively and entertaining. The duo play off each other with a love/hate, poker-faced delivery, and this makes even the lowest of the lowbrow humor funny.
There’s plenty of R-rated, bloody violence, and while some of the jokes are far more intelligent than you’d expect from a film like this, the rest of the script is filled with lots of the laziest variety of physical comedy imaginable. If you think gratuitous pratfalls and characters getting pelted with objects is funny, you’re going to laugh your head off.
There’s a certain apathy to some of the filmmaking here, including a reliance on an army of movie clichés like an overuse of shaky cam and multiple action sequences set to pop songs, but they’re offset with creative bits that take jabs at Stu’s electric car and a silly face-off set in a Siracha factory.
“Stuber” may not be destined for cult classic status, but it’s a fun ride that’s worth taking.