Studio: 20th Century Fox (1 hr. 45 min)
Plot: A detective recruits his Uber driver into an unexpected night of adventure.
Cast: Dave Bautista, Kumail Nanjiani, Iko Uwais
Bottom Line: ****
By Jon Rutlege
“Stuber” is an unlikely duo film that has all the right elements in the right places. Dave Bautista and Kumail Nanjiani are a perfect combination of straight man and comedian. I appreciate the fact, that this film was not ruined by its trailer. There is a careful balancing act that needs to be managed when you make a trailer. Have enough information to bring people into the theater, but also keep enough surprise to give the audience something to learn. “Stuber” offers that perfect balance. Feel free to watch the trailer and then go see the film –you won't be disappointed.
Vic (Dave Bautista) plays a grizzled cop on the trail of a bad guy who has alluded him for years. In his pursuit, Vic is in a traffic collision and needs a ride. So, Uber it is. Stu (Kumail Nanjiani), his Uber driver, arrives and gets swept up in pursuit of Jeijo (Iko Uwais), Vic's criminal arch nemesis. This hilarious symbiotic relationship between Stu needing five stars from Vic, and Vic needs to get from place to place, makes them a very unlikely, but funny paring.
Historically buddy films need two strong characters that play well against one another. They each need to be strong enough off one another, but still perform well on screen. Bautista and Nanjiani are a perfect pairing, with one being stoic and straitlaced and the other being sarcastic and funny. This makes watching them in more and more extreme circumstance enjoyable. I also enjoyed how the characters grew through the film. They each learned something from each other and are better versions of themselves by the end of the movie. They also have the perfect blend of action and comedy. Bautista and Nanjiani walk the fine line between the two, which is the mark of a great film team.
Michael Dowse directed this script from Tripper Clancy. I have not seen any work from either of them until this film, but based on their performances here, I am going to be looking for more from them. Dowse has an eye for what plays well on the screen between the characters. He also shows that he can strike that balance between action and humor. If you have too much action, it gets tedious, and people start getting numb. However, if you pop in those touches of comedy at the right moment, you can release the tension and build it again for another spectacular visual surprise.
In this style of film, there are some standout films that define this genre. Anything from Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder, or films like “Rush Hour” (‘98) or more recently “Central Intelligence” (‘16) come to mind. “Stuber” is one that rises to the top of that field. I have never been a fan of sequels to these films, and if they do make one, I will watch it. If on the other hand if these two want to work on another picture, that would be fine too. They have the on-screen chemistry that could pull of any film. No matter if you take a car, bus or…Lyft. Take sometime to enjoy this film.
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