FILM REVIEW: Stuber wastes likeable actors in clunky, clichéd script

From left, Dave Bautista as Vic, Pico the Pibble, and Kumail Nanjiani as Stu in a scene from Stuber. Photo Credit: Karen Ballard; © 2019 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved

Stuber is the story of a mild-mannered and sensitive uber driver named Stu (Kumail Nanjiani) and a testosterone-fueled, macho LAPD officer named Vic (Dave Bautista).

They come together because Vic has ill-timed Lasik surgery and ends up blurry eyed and partially blind the night the bad guy who killed his partner is in town to be taken down – what are the odds?!

Because he can’t drive or see, he recruits Stu to join him on a violent quest for revenge. Stu, beholden to his obsession for a 5-star rating, can’t say no to the crazy gun-wielding officer and joins the fight.

The film tries to make a statement about toxic masculinity by pitting opposites against each other. But it’s all talk and no action. For every scene with Stu explaining why Vic can’t say or do something — how it’s racist or misogynistic or simply inappropriate in this day and age — there’s a scene in which he embraces his ‘inner Vic’ and becomes the better for it.

Every time Vic sheds his compassion or empathy or woke qualities in exchange for picking up a gun or screaming at someone or running them over, he’s rewarded, making any intended message a moot point.

What’s truly disappointing is that both Nanjiani and Bautista are talented, likeable actors whose skills are the only reason this film is even watchable.

Unfortunately, Stuber is a hack-job that doesn’t nurture any of what could have been between them. Instead, the pair are saddling with a clunky and hypocritical script that falls back on tired clichés.

When combining Stu and Uber to make Stuber is the best joke in 93 minutes, you’ve got a problem. Do yourself a favour and sit this one out.

 

 

Vicky Sparks is a Bright’s Grove native and movie critic for Global TV’s The Morning Show, which airs nationally on Fridays. Her Journal Reviews cover movies playing at Galaxy Cinemas Sarnia