19th Jul2019

‘Stuber’ Review – Second Opinion

by Jak-Luke Sharp

Stars: Kumail Nanjiani, Dave Bautista, Iko Uwais, Natalie Morales, Betty Gilpin, Jimmy Tatro, Steve Howey, Mira Sorvino, Karen Gillan | Written by Tripper Clancy | Directed by Michael Dowse


Stuber, directed by Michael Dowse, stars the oddball pairing of Kumail Nanjiani and Dave Bautista as Stu and Vic Manning. Bautista’s Manning is on the verge of bringing down a known drug lord but is predisposed with laser eye surgery. In comes Nanjiani’s Stu. An Uber driver who is randomly brought into the chaotic plot after picking up Manning and inadvertently joining the investigation with much disdain. After Bautista’s latest comments of not wanting to be a part of the Fast and Furious franchise. Rather starring in “good” films instead of the hugely successful box office burners. The internet set alight. His career has been under the microscope as of late. Villeneuve’s Blade Runner: 2049 and the upcoming release of Dune keeps him in good stead. But in Hollywood, you’re only as good as your last film.

Stuber isn’t going to impress much of the “Film Bros” establishment. Purely out of the simplistic venture that it is. It succeeds, however, in its simplistic and digestible palette of a traditional juxtaposed team-up with the pairing of Nanjiani and Bautista. A pleasing and efficient coupling that has sizeable chemistry. Interwoven by writer Tripper Clancy and improvisation from the two leads results in an engaging comedic relationship that blossoms. Nanjiani’s dry deadpan humour is hilarious. A scene-stealer in his own right. This is only the second feature in which Nanjiani leads a comedy vehicle, but he does so with prowess and conviction. His back and forth with Bautista is never tiring nor overindulges in comedic sensibility. The dynamic in general never becoming tiring even if it does become excessive.

Bautista still has a way to go with his timing and delivery. Often than not it’s quite schlocky but he gets the job done. As does the murder mystery plot. It’s at best a bare minimum arc that is in no way the highlight of the picture. Classic framing of pure plot device one after another to get the two characters in absurd and ridiculous moments for the audience’s pleasure. With Stuber, you have a film that doesn’t occupy a serious or demanding bone within its body. The result is a tongue in cheek playful arrangement of two juxtaposed actors teaming up and allowing hilarity to ensue. Nothing more and nothing less, and with that, succeeds in its main function of entertainment value.

Stuber is in cinemas now.


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