I loved Kumail Nanjiani’s last major film, The Big Sick, which was basically the story of how he and his wife got together. This one is not as much of a true story, or at least I hope it is not.
Kumail Nanjiani plays a mild mannered man named Stu, who uses a rental electric car to drive for Uber in hopes of making some extra money. When he picks up Vic (Dave Bautista), a desperate police officer whose vision is blurry from eye surgery that day but who is anxious to investigate a lead he received about the man who killed his partner, little does Stu know that he is going to be dragged into a night of violence and danger.
Kumail Nanjiani and Dave Bautista make a really good comedic team, as they have a very strong chemistry with one another. They play off each other impressively throughout the film and both actors are so likable that you can overlook some of the ridiculous situations that the film drops them in.
While many of the moments are ridiculous, they are usually pretty funny and I have said it many times before. Funny can make things better. You can overlook flaws if you are laughing at them. Stuber has some very solid jokes and situations that are funny.
Not only are they funny, there are actually a bunch of buddy cop film tropes that are flipped upside down, almost in an attempt to subvert them. As soon as something looked like you knew where it was going, the film turned it around. I appreciated the way the film tried to keep things original. It was not always successful, but the attempt was welcomed.
One of the problems was Kumail Nanjiani got a little annoying at times. His characterization of Stu was somewhat over-the-top, leading to a lot of yelling. I have had problems with other actors whose performances wind up being just yelling (Kevin Hart, Will Farrell, Melissa McCarthy etc) and bringing the volume down some would help make it more subtle.
Dave Bautista has improved every time he is on screen and this is a big step for him as he is a co-lead of the movie. Bautista has thrived lately in the supporting cast, but this is a good turn for the big man. He shows that he has some decent comedic timing as well.
The supporting cast was strong too. Natalie Morlaes played Vic’s daughter Nicole, whose big art opening was the same night as the chaos that was happening. Vic is not shown in much of a positive light and you can see how his partner’s death devastated him. Betty Gilpin is Becca, Stu’s friend and secret love. Jimmy Tatro (from American Vandal) was Richie, Stu’s boss at the store he worked at and who tormented Stu constantly.
Iko Uwais (from The Raid series) is the villain Tedjo, but there is little to the character and is there simply to fight with Bautista. Unfortunately, there is too much shaky cam going on here for the fight scenes to be worthwhile.
To be fair, Vic breaks so many laws and police officer conduct that I can’t believe that he is allowed back on the job after the night, but that is best not mentioned or thought about.
I had a good time watching Stuber mainly because of Bautista and Nanjiani. It is not a film with a plot that can hold up to a ton of scrutiny, so just sit back and enjoy the humor. Otherwise, the plot may just ruin the film for you.