Starring: Dave Bautista, Kumail Nanjiani, Betty Gilpin
Director: Michael Dowse
Running Time: 93 mins
Stuber is an American film about a mild-mannered Uber driver who picks up a passenger that turns out to be a policeman hunting down a brutal killer.
Sure, Stuber might not be the world’s smartest film. It might not even be the funniest comedy ever made. But, as a movie purely designed to give you a good time, there’s not much to dislike about it. With good action, consistent laughs, two great lead performances and a light-hearted atmosphere, the film is brilliantly brain-dead fun from start to finish.
If there’s one thing that really makes Stuber work, it’s the lead performances from Dave Bautista and Kumail Nanjiani. An odd couple they may seem at first, but the pair really work their magic together as they prove a hugely entertaining buddy cop duo throughout.
Bautista plays on his typical hard-man roles well, with impressive charisma and comedic chops as always, while Nanjiani is just as likeable as the physically weaker side of the partnership, impressing with a hugely energetic turn that makes him look like he’s ready to burst at any point.
The film does try to bring an element of Nanjiani’s character’s pent-up frustration into the mix as he eventually loses his rag on a chaotic night with Bautista’s cop. Overall, that’s not an immensely interesting part of the story, though it does add a little more dimension to Nanjiani’s character than him being little more than a screaming sidekick.
In fact, Stuber is actually one of the few action comedies I’ve seen that’s full of screeching, but is still fully entertaining. Rather than simply relying on its leads yelling their way through the movie for cheap laughs, the film does at least build its characters effectively enough for that screaming to make a little bit of sense, and actually work as good comedy.
I might call this movie brain-dead brilliance, but it’s not all stupid, and it’s fair to say that Stuber is actually a lot more well thought-out than you might at first give it credit for.
Of course, the main plot is nothing you haven’t seen before. An odd couple gets caught up in a seemingly endless night of crazy action, crime and deceit, and hilarity and chaos ensues for ninety minutes. It’s a simple premise that doesn’t win any awards for originality, but is at least executed nicely.
Again, Nanjiani and Bautista’s excellent chemistry and individual charisma makes them both a joy to watch, while the film’s propensity for fun-loving, light-hearted humour makes it thoroughly enjoyable. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, but it’s never quite as idiotic as you might expect. Instead, it sits in a really solid middleground that’s neither too much nor too little for its own good – and I really enjoyed seeing that.
Overall, then, I had good fun with Stuber. It’s not a masterpiece of cinema, but it’s a film that’s there to make you laugh and let you have a good time, which it does really well. It’s light-hearted, silly, action-packed and genuinely funny, while the two lead performances are highlights throughout. If you’re looking for something simple and fun all the way through, then Stuber is a great choice, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.3.