Kumail Nanjiani and Dave Bautista team up in the latest entry in the odd couple/buddy action-comedy genre.
For months, Vic (Bautista), an LAPD narcotics detective, has been tracking his former partner’s killer Teijo (Iko Uwais), a major link in the local heroin chain. Unfortunately, the day he gets a tip on Teijo’s next big drop, he’s just had Lasik surgery, meaning his eyes are unable to focus.
Frantic, he flags down chatty, conscientious Stu (Nanjiani), who supplements his low-level job in a sporting-goods store by working as an Uber driver in a leased electric car with the vanity license plate FIVESTAR. Hence the nickname Stuber.
Eager to romance his best-friend/business partner Becca (Betty Gilpin), Stu is initially quite reluctant to help Dave catch the baddies. Gradually, as time goes by, Dave bonds with mild-mannered Stu, who is so enthusiastic for a five-star rating that he suddenly finds himself an accessory to multiple murders.
Vaguely reminiscent of Michael Mann’s thriller Collateral (2004) in which hitman Tom Cruise takes taxi driver Jamie Foxx hostage, forcing him to drive around Los Angeles, Tripper Clancy’s satirical script updates the idiocy with slapstick and scatological humor, while director Michael Dawes (Goon) concentrates on the clichéd cartoonish violence with stops in Koreatown and Compton.
So endearing in the semi-autobiographical The Big Sick (2017), Pakistani-American Kumail Nanjiani once again uses his nerdy charisma to make the most of a sketchily-scripted character, cleverly complementing gruff, grizzled, former WWE wrestler Dave Bautista (Drax the Destroyer in Guardians of the Galaxy).
“You’re built for justice,” Stu observes. “I’m built for brunch.”
Unfortunately, the female supporting cast – Betty Gilpin, Miro Sorvino and Natalie Morales – is given short-shrift.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, Stuber is a silly 6. Can Lyft compete?