Stuber - Movie Review

Stuber was a film that I couldn't wait to see. The pairing of Kumail Nanjiani, who made me a fan of his with The Big Sick, and Dave Bautista, who is continually proving himself to be an incredibly versatile performer, screamed hilariousness. Quality action-comedies are becoming increasingly rare, and this premise about a cop commandeering an Uber and taking the driver with him on a case seemed can't miss. A funny Collateral is what I imagined. Sadly, it doesn't quite reach its potential.

First and foremost, the leads here are great! Nanjiani and Bautista are the quintessential odd-couple pairing, and their unique brands of humour and energy meshed perfectly. The film sputters until their paths cross, but after that, the pace picks up considerably. A lot of Nanjiani's jokes fall flat, but when they hit, they hit hard. I wish it had been a bit more consistent and that there weren't prolonged dry spells, but I commend them for trying everything.

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The supporting cast is mostly good. Natalie Morales was a standout as Nicole, Bautista's daughter. She adds a layer of emotion to the film that wouldn't be there if you only looked at the script. I also liked what they did with Betty Gilpin's Becca and her relationship with Stu. There is a decision made to subvert what would be an obvious trope, and it allowed for one of the stronger character building moments in the film. The weakest link amongst the cast is undoubtedly Jimmy Tatro. He's painfully unfunny, and I dreaded anytime he showed up on the screen.

One of Stuber's most prominent failings is the inexcusably awful camera work. Why Michael Dowse chose to use a shaky cam when you have Iko Uwais playing your villain, one of the best fight choreographers in the world, is beyond me. I don't know if it's a confidence issue, but it severely detracts from what would have otherwise been some pulse-pounding action sequences.

The film also has an overly problematic story. A lot of the characters' decisions are questionable, and I understand that this is a comedy and so it's going to be inherently ridiculous, but you can only get away with so much. Bland writing is a throughline issue with Stuber. It's rarely fresh or inventive, and instead is a pastiche of every narrative beat that you've already seen a thousand times. I thought it was extremely predictable and relied far too heavily on the charm of its leading men.

Stuber could have been a lot better, but I still found it to be an easy and, at times, enjoyable watch. It's a bit sluggish, but overall it teeters more on the positive side of things. I love going to the theatre, so that will always be my recommendation, but this also the ideal lazy day at home kind of movie.

Rating: 5.5/10

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