Stuber (2019)

“What do I need to do to make this all end?”

Technically speaking, Stuber is an action / buddy comedy by definition, although the lackluster execution might suggest otherwise. There are many vague shoot-outs (most of which are quite literally aimless), shouting matches full of endless bickering, and slight pauses after punchlines where laughs are meant to land but are instead met with empty voids. Unfunny, pointless, and unevenly excessive with its casual violence, Stuber might be the worst and most disheartening movie to infiltrate theaters nationwide so far this year. It’s cringe-worthy.

There’s really nothing pleasant about Stu (Kumail Nanjiani), a begrudged employee at a local sporting goods store, a moonlighting Uber driver by night, and an entrepreneur with a lady’s only spin cycle gym in the works. He’s a phony through and through. A wannabe “woke” man who – for most of the film – is driven by the lust he has for his friend Becca (Betty Gilpin). She’s a potential business partner in the cycling start-up, they hooked up once before and she drunkenly sends Stu a mid-day booty call just before he’s about to give worst ride of his life. The way his brain operates would be funny, if only it weren’t such an unknowing and unsuccessful parody of these parts from The 40-Year-Old Virgin.

There’s not much to glean from the brutish Vic Manning (Dave Bautista) either. Vic lost a partner (Karen Gillan) in the line of duty and fixates on finding the drug lord killer Tedjo (Iko Uwais), much to the detriment of his family life and his career. He enlists the help of Stu to drive him around. Stu obliges to secure a high enough rating to continue this side hustle, and feverishly frets about whether or not he’s going to miss another shot at bedding the obviously buzzed Becca. Not much else takes place during this bumpy and boring rollercoaster of a ride, and when things do occur, they’re either totally expected or happen without much rhyme or reason.

What should’ve been a humorous, lighthearted and unlikely team-up between David and Goliath opposites ends up as the worst kid of Uber ride imaginable. The kind that takes the long way to go one block, that plays bad music and incites conversation when the rider chose to sit in the backseat. Bautista and Nanjiani have solid chemistry off-screen, but their personas never quite gel into the type of believable bromance that Michael Dowse’s film aims for and badly misses. Not helping them is Tripper Clancy’s lazy character development, feigning feminism and inclusiveness while also underwriting every female character and shaming a drug dealer into an admission rather than continuing to be accused of fragility or liking Ryan Gosling. Bautista hardly emotes anything beyond clumsy cunfusion, Nanjiani kicks and screams and annoyingly whines his way through his worst performance to date, and this predictable “crime” film is the kind you’re always easily one step ahead of. Stuber might have found success during the late 90’s to early 00’s when movies were able to get away with more. However, now is no longer the time for a film this foolhardy, unamusing, and blatantly annoying. Do yourself a favor and just walk instead.

“This is a hard no from me.”

Rating: 1 out of 5

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