Bless you F’n guys!! Im baffled why this movie isn’t performing and critics are picking it apart like we were trying to make an art house film! It’s just plain and simply FUN! Thank you for getting it! #DreamChaser Stuber Angry Movie Review https://t.co/jTs5ZobZK1 via @YouTube— Dave Bautista (@DaveBautista) July 14, 2019
Dave Bautista’s characterization of the first movie he is the lead in as “simply fun” is really all you need to know about it. These days, “fun” is a catch-all term used to defend something you enjoy but isn’t quite technically up-to-par. It’s often held up, as it is here, as the opposite of “art house” film-making, which obscures the fact that a movie being technically sound is a large part of what makes it fun. Bautista, however, is surely unaware of this esoteric debate and is likely just pushing this important moment in his career the easiest way possible.
Stuber sees Bautista’s uber-macho Los Angeles Police Officer Vic Manning calling an Uber to chase a lead on the one case that got away. His Uber driver uber-woke Stu (Kumail Nanjiani) is predictably pulled into his pursuit. What follows is a paint-by-the-numbers buddy-partners comedy that has been done better many times over.
Do you want to see a young awkward guy deal with a grizzled old cop’s lack of knowledge of technology and contemporary culture? Let me point you to 2007’s Live Free or Die Hard. Are you interested in an experienced alpha male trying to teach a younger beta male and learning from him along the way? This year’s Shaft handled that subject matter much more intelligently and with greater satisfaction. No, Stuber isn’t going to provide you with anything original or inventive. What it does provide is a proof-of-concept for Bautista and Nanjiani’s comedic chops and partnership.
If this movie starred any two other people, it may have failed spectacularly. By virtue of his massive physicality, Bautista brings credibility to the idea of a man who got through in life without having to keep up with the times or pay attention to the feelings of the people around him. Because of his ability to intelligently and indignantly object to anything, Nanjiani believably portrays a know-it-all pushover. Their tendencies complement each other perfectly, propelling the plot with punchlines and excusing the over-the-top scene setups as an, um, excuse to watch talented comedians make the audience laugh.
No, Stuber isn’t a 5 star ride, but a benevolent cautious driver it’s still a hell-of-a-lot better than a jerk who has no idea how to drive.