When it comes to films, the buddy cop genre is something that has always been around and enjoyed. Movies like Lethal Weapon and 48 Hrs paved the way for an entire array of films. Some of these include Bad Boys, 21 Jump Street, The Other Guys, and the newest installment in the genre, Stuber. Where does Stuber rank though on the list of great buddy cop films?
“He kidnapped me. We killed some people.”
Stuber is the newest film by director Michael Dowse (Goon, Take Me Home Tonight). It stars comedian, and former WWE Superstar, Bautista. Stu (Nanjiani) is an Uber driver who is thrown into a world of violence and crime when Detective Vic (Bautista), fresh out of lasik eye surgery, gets in his Uber to hunt down a criminal whom he is seeking revenge on. Can this weak timid Uber driver handle the pressure and scenarios thrown his way?
Stuber is overall a fun little film. It does some things right and misses on others. Where it hits it’s mark the most is the characters and performances. The film is the first leading role for Dave Bautista and he does a great job with it. Not only is his acting and delivery great but he is also asked to do a lot of physical comedy throughout the film and he nails it. I’m sure having that wrestling background helps when it comes to the physical side of things and it shows.
“Let me guess, you want me to drive you to all the Sarah Connors in the city?”
There are also some great side characters. Jimmy Tatro plays the douche bag coworker to Stu and has some of the best comedic moments in the film. Another small but scene stealing actor is Steve Howey, who is best known as Kevin from the TV series Shameless. Betty Gilpin and Iko Uwais also do an amazing job with the little bit that they are given.
Being a comedy, the writing is probably the most important part of a film like this and when it hits it really hits. The best moments are actual gut busters but in all honesty, there isn’t a ton of them.
While there were some positives about the film, Stuber definitely left a bit to be desired. One disappointing aspect of the show was the inconsistency of the humor when it comes to Kumail Nanjiani’s character. There are moments he has that are hilarious only for the next line to be met with awkward silence throughout the theater. The movie tried too hard to make every word he said be funny. The film should have instead tried to sprinkle it in at the right moments.
The other issue with Stuber has to do with the pacing; specifically it’s 2nd act. Stuber starts out strong with some great jokes but there is a definite lull in the middle of the film. It feels as if you are just sitting there waiting for it to end at one point due to scenes dragging on. At 90 minutes the film should feel much tighter and move much faster than it actually does.
“It’s a baby gun. It allows you to fire it while crying.”
Finally, Stuber does nothing new. Every twist and turn and even a lot of jokes are super predictable. There’s nothing wrong with making the cinematic equivalent of cheese pizza but it does make the viewing a little less enjoyable. The film could have taken a couple more bold choices either in story or in the filmmaking. This would have greatly enhanced the experience.
Overall, in the grand scheme of buddy cop films, Stuber sits around the middle of the pack. It isn’t a film that is going to blow you away or be quoted for years to come. But it is still a quick fun time for anyone that just wants to sit down and enjoy some comedy. It isn’t a film that doesn’t need to be seen on the big screen but won’t be a waste if you do decide to go to the theater.
Overall Score: 2.5/5