Buddy cop movies are done right when the audience feels they have a genuine connection with the characters. Films “Lethal Weapon” and “Beverly Hills Cop” are two classic examples of this genre done right.
In the new movie “Stuber,” however, that dynamic seems to be a hit and miss.
“Stuber” tells the story of sporting goods store employee Stu (Kumail Nanjiani), who also works as an Uber driver to make a little bit of extra cash. After dropping off his latest passenger, Stu picks up Los Angeles Police detective Vic Manning (Dave Bautista).
Manning called for an Uber because he can’t drive due to just undergoing Lasik eye surgery. He tells Stu to drive him to Koreatown so he can meet with an informant. After finding the informant dead, Manning forces Stu to be his driver so he can track down leads, using him for his car.
A strong point for “Stuber” is its uncomplicated story. It took the audience on a direct path from plot point to plot point without much deviation from the main storyline. This helped to keep the story moving along and provided a smooth transition from scene to scene.
The humor in this movie seems a little worn with some of the scenes replicated from better action films. The writers leaned heavily on Manning’s lack of understanding about how technology works. He continually yells out the neighborhoods he wants to visit and at one point tells Stu to put his wrecked car on his “tab.” Stu replies that “There is no tab” and “Uber is not a general store in the Old West.” This joke is overdone but, like a top 40 hit on the radio, it keeps cropping up time and time again.
“Stuber” uses a lot of pop culture references for its laughs, which divides its audience. It’s a problem because while some might understand the reference, the other half may not. Comedy in this type of movie should come from the moments the characters share together so everyone can have a good laugh.
“Rush Hour” is an excellent example of how the audience is brought in, with Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker working together to blend both action and comedy. The end result was they created a film that is stilled loved and quoted by people more than 20 years later.
I don’t see “Stuber” going the distance. Instead, I see it slowly fading from people’s memories only to be found in the bargain bin of your local retailer.
If you are looking for a few laughs that might cheer you up for a moment or two, then I would say “Stuber” is that quick fix. The idea behind “Stuber” to have a cop use an Uber to help him fight crime was promising. In this application, however, the concept was poorly done and left a lot of potential on the table. It could have been better.
I give “Stuber” six out of 10 stars. It is rated R for violence and language throughout, some sexual references and brief graphic nudity. The movie runs 93 minutes.
For more information about “Stuber,” go to www.foxmovies.com/movies/stuber.