Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Review: "Stuber"

Since “Stuber” isn’t so much a coherent movie as a collection of (allegedly) comedic elements, let’s do this review in bullets.
  • Dave Bautista isn’t funny unless he’s trying not to be funny, a la the deadpan Drax in the “Guardians of the Galaxy” flicks.
  • Kumail Nanjiani plays a harried Uber driver… which he also played in his breakout hit, “The Big Sick.” Hopefully this will be his last such role, otherwise he will be the victim of the weirdest typecasting in Hollywood history. “I know, let’s get that rideshare guy!”
  • I can only imagine the pitch for this movie: “Let’s do a buddy cop movie where the tough one just had LASIK so he can’t see and the other guy’s a touchy/feely wimp.”
  • This isn’t actually how laser eye surgery works. You’re light-sensitive for a while, but can see clearly right after. If you’re functionally blind post-procedure, call an ambulance and a lawyer.
  • A prologue scene shows the partner of Vic (Bautista) getting killed due in part to his losing his thick glasses during a fight, hence the LASIK.
  • The title comes from the fact Nanjiani’s character is named Stu, and his noxious bro-dude boss (Jimmy Tatro) at his day job at a sporting goods store attaches the Uber appellation to mock him. Stu actually prefers “FIVESTAR,” the license plate on his electric Nissan Leaf. He’s obsessed with maintaining a high star rating from his riders, which doesn’t work out so well.
  • Vic crashes his car trying to hunt down the drug dealer, Teijo (Iko Uwais), who killed his partner while doing lots of parkour. Despite being unable to see well enough to work his phone the entire rest of the movie, Vic somehow manages to use it to summon Stu, and then basically kidnaps him for the rest of the way on “official police business.”
  • Stu repeatedly mentions that his car is a lease, especially as it gets progressively blasted apart by gunfire and crashes as the movie goes on. This seems unwise, since Uber drivers put a tremendous amount of miles on their cars and leases nearly always include strict mileage riders.
  • Stu’s dream is to save up enough money so he can partner up with his friend Becca (Betty Gilpin) on a women-only spin gym to be called “Spinsters,” which is an even worse moniker than Stuber. 
  • Stu secretly pines for Becca, and is prevented from hooking up with her by Vic forcing him to ferry him around, beating up criminals and otherwise treating the Bill of Rights like toilet paper.
  • Vic is having problems relating to his daughter (Natalie Morales), because he’s always about the job and never there. Clichéd Screenwriting 101 courtesy of Tripper Clancy.
  • Bautista is an intriguing physical specimen for the screen. He seems twice as wide as a normal human, could arguably claim to be a member of any race, and has a scant, mangy head of hair that seems to be at least 40% Toppik. He actually looks more normal in the Drax getup.
  • While otherwise having the look and feel of a slightly cheeky comedy, the movie is rated “R” for short bursts of violence and peen. 
  • Yes, I should’ve said “bullet points” at the beginning of this review, but since it’s a surprisingly bloody shoot-em-up, that was a joke. Not a very good one, I’ll admit. But still funnier than anything in “Stuber.”

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