Directed by: Michael Dowse
Written by: Tripper Clancy
Starring: Kumail Nanjiani, Dave Bautista, Iko Uwais, Natalie Morales, Betty Gilpin, Jimmy Tatro
Every year Hollywood studios release unoriginal and boring comedies that tie into some recent trend. These films typically have one good laugh in them but are ultimately forgettable. I’m going to assume that anyone reading this can ascertain through my first two sentences and my rating that this film exemplifies one of those cases.
Trying to make some extra money as an Uber driver, Stu (Kumail Nanjiani) gets a new rider that happens to be a detective named Vic (Dave Bautista) on the hunt for a drug lord on the loose. Vic cannot drive because he recently had laser eye surgery and cannot see clearly. Through this quest to find the criminal, Vic and Stu bicker about masculinity and how the latter just wants a 5-star rating for the service.
Now, the title of this film comes from the combination of Stu and Uber, because he drives for the ride-sharing company for extra money. He’s given that nickname from this one guy at his day job and it’s funny because we’re all in middle school. It really started with a bang, am I right? Why does Stu need extra money you may be asking? It’s because the woman he wants to date, Becca (Betty Gilpin) asked him to partner with her in opening a gym and he can’t really afford it but he said yes because he eventually wants to date her even though she has shown no interest in him at all. Are you pulled in yet? Honestly, everything that happens in this film instantly becomes so forgettable that I could not remember the plot two days after I initially viewed it.
The only ounce of positivity I have towards this film comes from the casting duo of Kumail and Dave. It’s great to see people of color get starring roles in bad comedies. The growing fear of performers and creators of color lies in the fright of one bad film plummeting their career. May of their white and male contemporaries can make dreadful films and still be handed more opportunities. People of color should be able to make and star in terrible movies and survive. I’m glad these two are still going to have successful careers and this film brought them together, but nonetheless, contrived and humorless would be the best way to describe this mess.
Conceptually, it attempted to go for a message about masculinity and how it may be attributed to a certain kind of man. Stu would not be considered manly because he refuses to profess his love to Becca and doesn’t stand up for himself to the guys who bully him at work. Vic represents the toxic side of masculinity and refuses to get in touch with his emotions, especially about prioritizing work over his daughter. The whole ordeal presents itself in such a surface-level way and does nothing resounding or resonant in the slightest.
The biggest surprise that came from the amount of violence it showed during the shootings and the rest of the plot. Having not seen any of the promotional material before watching this movie, I assumed that it would be standard PG-13 fare, but the film really went there with the violence and the intensity of some of the action sequences. If only it could have traded some of that action for actual funny dialogue, which this film sells itself on apparently.
The rest of the narrative tells a standard story and I guessed what the ending would be about five minutes into the viewing experience. Films are allowed to use tropes and I am genuinely okay with using similar plot points utilized in previous works, but the newer iterations need to add something new. Stuber contributed to the world of filmmaking by reminding the world that Uber can be used for extra money, essentially a commercial.