Kumail Nanjiani and Dave Bautista are two pretty funny dudes, and the disparity in both their physical size and comedy styles create the obvious prospect of what could’ve been a hilarious mismatched buddy-comedy movie. However, the end result does not live up to its full potential.
When Uber driver Stu (Nanjiani), desperate for five-star ratings, picks up passenger Vic (Bautista), a cop seeking vengeance, Stu is forced to accompany Vic on his dangerous mission which will see both of them exit their comfort zones and add up to one big Uber bill.
Very quickly I’m becoming a big fan of Dave Bautista, dude has great comedic timing and as demonstrated by his brief appearance in Blade Runner 2049, he has the versatility to do more serious work as well; I just hope he can break out of The Rock’s shadow, which his career’s parallel has inevitably put him in. Unfortunately, Stuber is not the film to do this. And for Kumail Nanjiani? His character feels like a less compelling version of himself from the Big Sick, a terrific film I’d recommend you watch if you haven’t. The two share chemistry, but they’re trapped in a lackluster script and thin plot.
I’m going to be straight to the point: Stuber has its moments, but it suffers from “the best parts are in the trailer syndrome”. I laughed watching this film, it’s full of jokes and gags, but the flow isn’t as natural as I’d hoped and sometimes those jokes and gags feel inserted only to reinforce the film’s genre as a comedy and less because they worked well with the script; moments like these disrupt the pacing. The slapstick comedy can also be relatively violent, and this works in the same vein as it did in, to steal another reviewer’s comparison, Pineapple Express.
Personally, I believe the film would’ve benefited had Nanjiani written it. He may have been able to maximize the dynamic between him and Bautista, whilst infusing more of his sarcastic wit. If I sound largely pessimistic in my review, I’m not trying to be, Stuber is a simple comedy which would work well for a movie night…at home, not the theater. I just have to admit, as one of the few people legitimately excited for this film, Stuber could’ve used a Lyft. 6/10