Review: Stuber

Score: B-

Director: Michael Dowse

Cast: Dave Bautista, Kumail Nanjiani, Natalie Morales, Iko Uwais

Running Time: 93 Minutes

Rated: R

In another world, either Dave Bautista or Kumail Nanjiani would be the unlikely pairing with a tough-as-nails cop. Pairing them together is a risk that mostly pays off. Here, Bautista is the straight man Vic, a dedicated detective still trying to hunt down the drug dealer (Iko Uwais) who killed his partner. He's a giant boulder of a man, both in size and stubbornness. When he gets a tip that could bring his arch-nemesis down while recovering from LASIK eye surgery, he commandeers an Uber driven by Stu (Kumail Nanjiani), who defines the title of his stand-up special: Beta Male.

There's nothing particularly special about Stuber, which is as dumb as its title suggests. It's a competent action-comedy that never truly impresses on either front. The film makes an attempt at addressing toxic masculinity and male passivity, but this is mostly an exercise to see Nanjiani squeal while dodging bullets and getting talked into yet another scenario where he could die. While it's a bit repetitive in its brief runtime, I have to say I was never bored and laughed quite a bit, including a one-liner from Stu's on-again/off-again lover Becca (Betty Gilpin) that had me howling.

The film also features supporting roles for Jimmy Tatro, continuing to corner the market on dumb bros; the always delightful Natalie Morales as Vic's neglected daughter; and Oscar winner Mira Sorvino as Vic's boss. None of them get much screen time. Nearly every scene is designed to get in and out as quickly as possible. You'll probably forget about it on your ride home. It's never terrible, but never achieves greatness either.

Stuber is hardly a five-star ride, but with talented folks on-screen caring more about this material than anyone in the audience will, it's not as bumpy as you might imagine.


About Kip Mooney

Kip Mooney
Like many film critics born during and after the 1980s, my hero is Roger Ebert. The man was already the best critic in the nation when he won the Pulitzer in 1975, but his indomitable spirit during and after his recent battle with cancer keeps me coming back to read not only his reviews but his insightful commentary on the everyday. But enough about a guy you know a lot about. I knew I was going to be a film critic—some would say a snob—in middle school, when I had to voraciously defend my position that The Royal Tenenbaums was only a million times better than Adam Sandler’s remake of Mr. Deeds. From then on, I would seek out Wes Anderson’s films and avoid Sandler’s like the plague. Still, I like to think of myself as a populist, and I’ll be just as likely to see the next superhero movie as the next Sundance sensation. The thing I most deplore in a movie is laziness. I’d much rather see movies with big ambitions try and fail than movies with no ambitions succeed at simply existing. I’m also a big advocate of fun-bad movies like The Room and most of Nicolas Cage’s work. In the past, I’ve written for The Dallas Morning News and the North Texas Daily, which I edited for a semester. I also contributed to Dallas-based Pegasus News, which in the circle of life, is now part of The Dallas Morning News, where I got my big break in 2007. Eventually, I’d love to write and talk about film full-time, but until that’s a viable career option, I work as an auditor for Wells Fargo. I hope to one day meet my hero, go to the Toronto International Film Festival, and compete on Jeopardy. Until then, I’m excited to share my love of film with you.