STUBER – Disappointingly Average

I was totally looking forward to reviewing STUBER but am now quite glad I had something on the night of the screening. It appears I dodged a bullet and Kernel Blake got shot in the face with it haha. The trailer for STUBER looks hilarious and I love Bautista on-screen of late, everything he does in the MCU cracks me up. And ever since THE BIG SICK I have been keen to seen Nanjiani’s next project.

Sadly, it must be one of those films where all the best bits are in the trailer. STUBER is rated MA15+ and runs for 93mins, it releases today, Thursday 11th July in Australia from 20th Century Fox. Enjoy Blake’s review………..all the best…………JK.

BY BLAKE CURRALL:

I made a rookie mistake after the screening of the new action/buddy-cop comedy, STUBER. With a week before release, I held off on writing the review and am now paying the price because I immediately forgot all about the film as soon as I left the cinema. I think you can see where this review is going to go based on that…

Stuber Dave Bautista, Kumail Nanjiani image
Dave Bautista and Kumail Nanjiani

THE STORY:

STUBER begins with goliath, man mountain Vic (Dave Bautista, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY), a grizzled detective and his partner Sara (Karen Gillan, also GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY) hot on the trail of a dangerous drug dealer, Teijo (Iko Uwais, THE RAID). When the bust goes south, thanks in part to Vic’s poor eyesight, Teijo escapes and leaves a trail of destruction that fuels Vic on a quest for revenge years later.

After finally being taken off the case by his boss, Captain McHenry (Mira Sorvino, MIMIC), Vic decides to have laser surgery on his eyes and reconnect with his estranged daughter and artist, Nicole (Natalie Morales, PARKS & RECREATION). However, after the surgery and struggling with blurred vision, Vic receives a tip off that may help him finally get his man. Enter STUBER, or Stu (Kumail Nanjiani, THE BIG SICK), a hapless Uber driver just trying to keep his star rating high enough to keep his job.

Stuber Dave Bautista, Kumail Nanjiani image
Kumail Nanjiani and Dave Bautista

Unable to drive due to his vision, Vic taps Stu to be his Uber driver and unwilling partner, as he pursues Teijo across LA in a series of hijinks that range from amusing to ultra-violent. All the while, Stu is trying to get back to his new business partner that he is also madly in love with, unbeknownst to her.

STUBER follows the buddy-cop formula with plenty of cliched action scenes, double crosses and twists that are about as difficult to spot as a needle in a needle stack. The biggest issue with the film, is that it just doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be. It tries to be a comedy, but apart from the odd scene here or there, it’s not that funny. It tries to be an action film, but the action beats are incredibly poorly shot. And then it tries to be a sweet, family redemption story but fails at that too.

Stuber Dave Bautista, Kumail Nanjiani image
Dave Bautista, Kumail Nanjiani

THE CAST:

Dave Bautista has shown plenty of acting chops and humour in his role as Drax in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and has been able to hold his own in films since coming across from the world of wrestling. In STUBER he gives it his all as the stereotypical behemoth action star but is just let down by a limp script that just seems like they went with the first draft and thought “that’ll do.”

Nanjiani also, a very accomplished comedian and filmmaker in his own right, is disappointing, spending most of the film yelling at things. His schtick grates as STUBER stumbles towards its ending, with only a few moments of humour punching through the mediocrity. The rest of the cast is serviceable but without much to do.

The biggest waste though, is Uwais as the main bad guy Teijo. This is a guy with incredible fight and stunt skills, who has also proven that he can act. In STUBER, unfortunately, he gets very little screen time and even then, his fighting skills are butchered thanks to terrible camerawork and choreography.

Director Michael Dowse (GOON) is partly to blame for the lacklustre feel of the film, with no real excitement or energy put into what is supposed to be an R rated action comedy. But the biggest culprit is the screenwriter, Tripper Clancy, who has provided a script so devoid of humour and action, you’ll wonder why they bothered.

Stuber Kumail Nanjiani, Rene Moran and Dave Bautista image
Kumail Nanjiani, Rene Moran and Dave Bautista

THE VERDICT:

STUBER is tough to recommend, not just as a film ticket purchase, but even as a viewing at home. It’s one of those films that makes me the angriest. Not brilliant but not outright terrible either. It’s just average and a waste of time to sit through. There’s plenty of other films out there to watch, see them instead.

YOUR REVIEWER:

Kernel Blake is a part-time beard bandit, philanthropist, industrialist….bicyclist…photographer, world traveller, movie lover, a man of few words who enjoys the finer things in life. Like reciting Snake Plissken quotes. And when all that fails, heads out to a racetrack to do skids. He can be found twatting @bcurrall80 and hipstergramming @bcurrall80

** All images courtesy of various sources on Google or direct from the distributor/publisher – credit has been given to photographers where known – images will be removed on request.