“Doc, how long before I can see straight?” asks burly police detective Vic Manning (Dave Bautista). He’s eager to return to work after Lasik eye surgery. In fact, he won’t wait. He orders moonlighting Uber driver, Stu (Kumail Nanjiani), to drive him on dangerous and violent police work, hunting down the drug dealer who killed his police partner. “Those are cool dark glasses,” pleasantly-mannered Stu says, as detective Vic climbs into Stu’s tiny electric car. “Are you going to a rock concert later?” Vic is not amused. That’s the setup for this high body-count, odd-couple action/comedy.
Does quiet-spoken Stu learn to tolerate tough, loud and beefy Vic, who acts first and asks questions later? Will Vic find time to attend his grown daughter’s big art exhibit opening? Can love-sick Stu and business partner Becca get together? Will Stu get the five-star rating he covets from Uber? For answers, see “Stuber.” Or, you can miss it.
Lead actors Dave Bautista and Kumail Nanjiani do their best with a goofy, disjointed script that’s intended, it seems, to be funny, but isn’t much, given the film’s unrelenting violence. Detective Vic’s daughter, sculptor Nicole (played by Natalie Morales), innocently asks Stu how he and her father met. Stu says, matter-of-factly, “He kidnapped me and then we killed some people.” Nanjiani knows how to deliver a comic line, but it doesn’t help much here. Bautista (former WWF fighter) shouts his lines, crashes cars and beats up people through most of the film. Stu says, “Your face looks bad when you don’t smile. It looks very bad when you smile. You have a bad face.”
Others in the cast include Betty Gilpin as Stu’s (maybe) girlfriend, Becca. Mira Sorvino is Vic’s boss, Police Chief Angie McHenry. Amin Joseph is Leon, detective Vic’s new police partner. Stu works 9-to-5 for Richie Sandusky (Jimmy Tatro), who gives Stu his moonlighting nickname.
“Stuber” was directed by Michael Dowse from a flawed script by Tripper Clancy. Bobby Shore did the cinematography and Jonathan Schwartz edited this fast-moving and hyper-violent flick. The action takes place through a single night as Vic closes in on the murderous drug king, with bloody sequences in Los Angeles’ Koreatown, a Chippendale male strip club, and a veterinary hospital. “Stuber,” as critic Roger Moore correctly says, is “stupidly violent.” It’s also coarse; the f-word never stops.
Rated R for violence and language throughout, sexual references and graphic nudity, “Stuber” runs 105 minutes. I’d miss this one, if I were you.
“Stuber” is an odd-couple flick:
Driver Stu and Detective Vic;
Who cares if each becomes a friend?
Ask, “Will this stupid movie end?”