The dream of the 80s is alive in Stuber, a new action comedy that aspires to be to classics like Beverly Hills Cop, 48 Hours and Lethal Weapon what Stranger Things is to E.T., The Goonies and Firestarter.
Rising comedic actor Kumail Nanjiani (Silicon Valley) is Stu, a part-time Uber driver with a bad customer rating who pines for his platonic friend Becca (GLOW's Betty Gilpin), with whom he plans to open a fitness studio.
Wrestler turned movie star Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy) is Vic, a gruff LAPD detective stewing over the death of his partner and recovering from lasik surgery, which means he can't drive.
When he receives a tip relating to his partner's murder, Vic drafts Stu (who endures the titular nickname from his condescending sporting goods store co-workers) into being his driver to various spots around Los Angeles, and the situation quickly and violently escalates.
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Speaking as someone who reveres the classic buddy action comedy more than most, I could appreciate Stuber's clear intentions, which allowed me to forgive the film for never quite living up to its own potential.
There is bountiful chemistry between Nanjiani and Bautista, who spend most of the film loudly bickering. But the film's pure action elements often feel haphazard and clunky, an awkward side effect of Stuber (honourably) seeking to acknowledge elements of the classic action comedy that haven't aged so well, like the casual violence and macho gender dynamics.
It seems to hinder the film from truly being comfortable in its own skin. But perhaps I'm overthinking it. At the end of the day, any contemporary addition to the buddy action comedy genre is a welcome one.
Cast: Kumail Nanjiani, Dave Bautista
Director: Michael Dowse
Running time: 93 minutes
Rating: R16 (Violence, sexual references and offensive language)
Verdict: Doesn't live up to its 80s inspirations, but still a fun ride