Stuber (15)



Action (2019)
93mins US

Starring: Karen Gillan, Dave Bautista, Steve Howey, Kumail Nanjiani, Betty Gilpin
Director: Michael Dowse
Writer(s): Tripper Clancy
Listings: London | Rest of UK and Ireland

Mild-mannered Uber driver Stu accepts a fare from a passenger called Vic Manning, who turns out to be a detective with the Los Angeles Police Department. Vic is on the trail of a terrorist and orders Stu to ferry him around the city at high speed to crack the case. A suspect is thrown in the back seat of the car and Stu panics when the cop offers him a gun for protection. As bullets fly and the body count rises, Stu seizes the opportunity to assert himself.

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LondonNet Film Review
Stuber (15)

In 2017, Kumail Nanjiani played an Uber driver in Chicago chasing dreams of becoming a stand-up comedian in the uproarious romance, The Big Sick. It was one of the best films of the year and earned the leading man an Oscar nomination for his impeccable script. Two years later, Nanjiani slips behind the wheel of a "silent but deadly" electric car to play an Uber driver in Los Angeles chasing dreams of romantic bliss with his best friend in the hare-brained action comedy Stuber...

Stuber. Copyright: 2019 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. Caption: Dave Bautista as Vic and Kumail Nanjiani as Stu in Stuber, directed by Michael Dowse. Photo: Mark Hill. All Rights Reserved.It's safe to say Michael Dowse's caper won't be wooing Academy Award voters in any category. A mismatched buddy cop movie in the same vein as Beverly Hills Cop or Midnight Run, Stuber runs dry of imagination and creativity well before the title character's vehicle issues warnings about a flat battery. Scriptwriter Tripper Clancy neglects to fill the film's tank with snappy one-liners, relying on an increasingly shrill Nanjiani to spew leaden dialogue in misfiring scenes of verbal to-and-fro with Guardians Of The Galaxy hunk Dave Bautista. Dowse choreographs fight sequences to a retro soundtrack including a shoot-out in a veterinary practice to The Air That I Breathe by The Hollies for no obvious creative reason or dramatic pay-off.

Chatterbox nice guy Stu (Nanjiani) juggles full-time work at Outside The Box Sporting Goods, where he is belittled by an oafish boss (Jimmy Tatro), with weekend and late-night shifts as an Uber driver. He is stretching himself financially to invest in a women-only spin class run by his best friend Becca (Betty Gilpin), who he secretly loves. Stu accepts a fare from a passenger called Vic Manning (Bautista), who turns out to be a muscle-bound detective with the Los Angeles Police Department. Vic has just undergone laser eye surgery and needs Stu to ferry him around the city to capture sadistic drug dealer Oka Tedjo (Iko Uwais). "You're a cop, I'm a civilian. You're built for justice, I'm built for brunch," deadpans Stu. Unperturbed, Vic kidnaps Stu and forces the mild-mannered loner to become his private chauffeur, zigzagging around the city's criminal underbelly in search of Tedjo's latest consignment of heroin. As bullets fly, Stu enjoys a fleeting flirtation with Vic's daughter (Natalie Morales) and takes booty calls from Becca. "I'll just drop off Douche Lundgren then I'll be right over," Stu meekly assures her.

Stuber is a 90-minute promo for Uber, which doesn't come close to the five-star rating coveted by the lead character for his driving. Nanjiani and Bautista are an exceedingly odd couple and their intentionally fractious on-screen dynamic reaps scant rewards, culminating in a ridiculous fist fight. The daredevil acrobatics of Indonesian martial arts star Uwais are largely wasted and a romantic subplot with Gilpin is tepid. Dowse's unsatisfying film takes us for a ride.

- Kim Hu

Stuber. Copyright: 2019 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. Caption: Dave Bautista as Vic and Kumail Nanjiani as Stu in Stuber, directed by Michael Dowse. Photo: Mark Hill. All Rights Reserved.


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