There will be no five-star reviews for Stuber as it conjures up the remnants of Michael Mann’s 2004 action-thriller Collateral in the shape of a 93-minute comedy that is largely hit-or-miss, where its co-stars Kumail Nanjiani and Dave Bautista try to make the most out of a bad script.
Following on from his 2017 hit The Big Sick, Kumail Nanjiani stars as Stu, an Uber driver slash start-up co-owner slash department-store assistant. When Vic (Dave Bautista), a law-enforcer who is recovering from laser eye-surgery, receives a call from his source that could allow him to arrest the man who killed his partner, he solicits the services of Stu and his ride in order to drive him around town dragging him along to the craziest of locations from animal hospitals to male strip-clubs searching for information on a drug-dealer called Teijo (Iko Uwais).
It is undeniable that the two co-stars have incredible chemistry and have each proven in the past to be terrific actors. However, Tripper Clancy’s script doesn’t allow each of them to truly shine, especially Kumail Nanjiani whose actual funny jokes are scarce and interposed between around half of dozen which leave the audience almost in a state of cringe. As well as the dialogue, the action sequences are shot with rapid cuts and shaky camerawork making the initial fighting sequence almost unbearable to watch.
The film scrutinises the way today’s society views masculinity. Stu and Vic portray polar-opposite portrayals of manhood – one as a cop who’s jacked and kills criminals and the other as someone who isn’t afraid to show his emotions. Stuber argues that someone doesn’t have to look and act like Dave Bautista’s character to be perceived as “manly”. Whereas the idea is commendable, the execution is poor and leaves you with a taste of discontent. Luckily the co-stars’ tremendous chemistry and their individual acting skills allow them to salvage as many laughs as possible out of a script that shouldn’t even allow them to do so.