A mild-mannered Uber driver named Stu picks up a grizzled detective who is hot on the trail of a sadistic, bloodthirsty terrorist and finds himself thrust into a harrowing ordeal where he has to keep his wits, himself unharmed, and work with his passenger while maintaining his high-class rating.
Stuber is a buddy action-comedy in which Kumail Nanjiani plays a sporting-goods store worker and part-time Uber driver called Stu – thus reprising in lamer form the comedian and part-time Uber driver he gave us in his 2017 movie The Big Sick. Opposite him, Dave Bautista rolls out a broad Mr Magoo turn as Vic, the tough cop rendered almost blind by that morning’s laser eye surgery who must respond to a crime emergency but hilariously can’t drive, and so commandeers wussy Stu in his Uber, riding shotgun in the nerdy beta-male electric car.
Vic forms an odd-couple partnership with his timid new civilian partner as they barrel around LA aiming to take down the bad guys. Canadian-born Michael Dowse directs, working from what was originally a spec script from screenwriter Tripper Clancy. It could have been worse: there are a few nice lines as Stu worries about the fact that his car is a “lease” and nerves himself up to make acidly satirical remarks attacking macho Vic’s cluelessness about the modern world and his emotional illiteracy.
We get a nice gag about Ryan Gosling and also some sensational martial-arts work from Iko Uwais, who starred in action classic. The Raid but to have Uwais in the film so briefly, to show us such breathtaking stunts and then replace them with standard-issue action movie stuff is frustrating. Really there is very little chemistry between Bautista and Nanjiani, the cameo from Karen Gillan is disconcertingly fleeting, and if you compare this with something like the Beanie Feldstein/Kaitlyn Dever comedy Booksmart, the dialogue really does sound a bit pedestrian.
Stuber is released in Australia on 11 July and in the UK and the US on July 12.