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Friday, July 12, 2019

A Few Good One-Liners Can’t Redeem 'Stuber'

Posted By on Fri, Jul 12, 2019 at 8:54 AM

click to enlarge COURTESY OF 20TH CENTURY FOX
  • Courtesy of 20th Century Fox
“You were built for justice, and I was built for brunch,” Stu (Kumail Nanjiani) tells Vic (Dave Bautista) in the new comedy Stuber, which opens area-wide today. It’s one of many great one-liners in a film that otherwise falters thanks to a predictable storyline and a poorly paced plot.

The movie centers on the contrast between Stu and Vic. Stu works at a sporting goods store by day and drives for Uber by night, and Vic works for the Los Angeles Police Department. After Vic has laser surgery to correct his vision, he can’t drive, so he calls an Uber as he gets a tip that he might finally have a chance to nab Oka (Iko Uwais ), a pesky drug lord who shot and killed his partner and runs one of the city’s biggest heroin rings.

Vic hops in Stu’s Nissan Leaf and tells him to head to Koreatown and then South Central as he follows the clues that he thinks will lead him to Oka, all the while operating without the oversight of his boss, Captain Angie McHenry (Mira Sorvino). “Stop just yelling the names of cities; that’s not how Uber works,” Stu tells him at one point after getting frustrated with Nic’s cooption of the ride.

Stu’s not happy that Vic has “kidnapped” him on his quest, but he wants the five-star rating that has eluded him, and Vic says he’ll give him the five stars as long as he continues to drive him around the greater Los Angeles area. Along the way, they get in a few shootouts and even happen to drop by Vic’s daughter’s (Natalie Morales) art opening.

The cop-in-an-Uber joke runs thin pretty quick, but Nanjiani and Bautista possess decent comedic skills and deliver their one-liners with impeccable timing. Still, it often feels like they’re driving around in circles, and by the movie’s end when the two predictably put aside their differences to become pals, the film has invoked just too many clichés to make it become the hit comedy that the summer movie season has so far failed to deliver.

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