Buddy comedies can sometimes be a hard genre to crack. You need to have a promising plot and two actors that have great chemistry between one another. You can have classics like Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, 48 Hours, or Lethal Weapon. This genre though, isn’t without its sleepers. More recently, we’ve had the misfortunate to know The Heat, Cop Out or even this year’s The Hustle. It takes a special blend of comedic timing, an intriguing plot and above all else, chemistry. The genre is a dime a dozen these days. So, what happens when you take Dave Bautista, wrestler turned MCU superstar, and Kumail Nanjiani, who was arguably the best part of last month’s Men in Black International.
Stuber tells the story of a cop named Vic, played by Bautista, who loses his partner during a case to catch a heroine dealer. Fast forward six months to a blind Vic taking an uber driver named Stu, played by Nanjiani, hostage to capture the dealer and get his long awaited closure. In some parts this film feels like a modern version of the Jimmy Fallon-Queen Latifah film, Taxi, from 2004. Or even a parody of the Tom Cruise-Jamie Foxx thriller, Collateral, only four years later. Stuber though is an interesting comedy to gauge. It both overperformances and underdelivers within the same breath. While Bautista’s charm and comedic timing can be more subtle within the realms of the MCU as Drax the Destroyer. Here it’s a bit over the top and borderline annoying within these confides. His portrayal as Vic is cliché and two-dimensional. Unfortunately, the same can be said about Kumail Nanjiani as Stu. It makes even worse when both spend the majority of the movie lacking any kind of chemistry together. The film often begs the question as to what a man is but men may be leaving this film with this question: why did this film even bother.
Stuber on the surface is a buddy comedy of typical origins. One character who is on a mission and another who doesn’t really fit within that mission and the two characters have to learn to like one another. Stuber in a lot of ways feels like a modernized version of white noise. The comedy is very hit or miss. There are times where you genuinely will laugh out loud. Then there are other times where you can feel the writers intended for something to be a joke but it didn’t stick the landing. Perhaps going with the theme of what makes a man, a man – the film suffers from identity issues. Aforementioned this film underdelivers. Outside of the last ten minutes of the movie, there are a few times where the script calls for these heartfelt moments. They feel so out of place for the majority of the time. They feel so forced. Though in the end the emotion does land following the film’s big climax.
Overall, Stuber, is white noise for the comedy genre. Taking two talents like Dave Bautista and Kumail Nanjiani and pit them into a cycle of slapstick, iffy comedic timing and emotional strings that feel borrowed from another symphony. The film does have some laugh out loud moments within it. It sticks the emotional landing upon its ending. Stuber is entertaining to a capacity. Yet, much like Stu’s Uber customers: this one is not worth the five star rating.
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