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Movie Review: “Stuber”

There are many movies that are worth seeing, but there are a lot of stinkers as well. My goal here is to weed out the good from the bad.

Theatrical Release: 7/12/2019

Theatrical Release: 7/12/2019

Synopsis

Stu (Kumail Nanjiani) is struggling to make ends meet while working two low-paying jobs. By day, he works in a retail sporting goods store, and by night he works as an Uber driver. He is trying to raise some money to help the girl of his dreams, but this may be an impossible task. Stu is unable to take up more hours at the sporting goods store, and he has had a streak of poor Uber ratings. Once his Uber rating falls below fours stars, getting more rides will be difficult. He cannot let that happen, but he is already dangerously close to dropping below four stars.

Vic (Dave Bautista) is cop who is obsessed with catching a criminal mastermind named Tedjo (Iko Uwais), who has been responsible for the deaths of some of Vic's peers. Innocents have been hurt and Vic had blown his best chance at taking Tedjo down. He had Tedjo right where he wanted him, but when his glasses fell off, Tedjo was able to get away. Vic will not let this happen again, so he has scheduled lasik surgery to fix his vision. With his vision severely impaired after surgery, Vic is essentially blind and he is unable to drive for over twenty four hours. Vic plans on staying at home until his vision comes back, but when he gets a tip regarding Tedjo's current location, he decides to get an Uber.

Official Trailer

The Pros & Cons

All movies start with an average score of 75pts, points are then added or subtracted based on each Pro and Con. Each Pro or Con is designated points, ranging from 0-10, to convey how significant these Pros or Cons are.

The ProsThe Cons

Kumail Nanjiani & Dave Bautista (+5pts)

The Main Plot (-4pts)

The Premise & The Comedy (+5pts)

The Climax (-3pts)

Nicole & Becca (+3pts)

The Ending (-2pts)

movie-review-stuber

Pro: Kumail Nanjiani & Dave Bautista (+5pts)

I knew Dave Bautista had comedic chops after seeing him in Guardians of the Galaxy and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. That being said, while those two movies had plenty of comedy, this movie was primarily a comedy and I thought Dave Bautista did a pretty good job in it. His character was not a comedic character on the surface, but the situation he found himself in certainly made him one. Dave Bautista delivered plenty of funny, comedic moments, and I thought he worked well with Kumail Nanjiani.

Kumail Nanjiani brought his unique comedic style, which I always find really entertaining. The guy is clever and witty, and he tends to play comedically pathetic characters. He is a very talented comedic actor, but he is just as capable dramatically—as was proven in The Big Sick. The two actors formed a pretty unorthodox duo in this movie, but their differences complemented each other really well. Both actors were funny, and both had their share of drama, but it was the chemistry they had together that made the duo so fun to watch.

movie-review-stuber

Con: The Main Plot (-4pts)

I will get into what I liked about the premise next, but I thought the writers did a poor job of setting it up. A cop choosing to go after a dangerous criminal while being essentially blind seems far fetched enough, but for a cop to do so while also continuously putting a defenseless Uber driver in harm’s way is just crazy. Was it silly? Sure, but I just did not think the writers did a good job of justifying Vic’s decisions.

I also thought the writers did a poor job with the main plot as a whole. I will get into my issues with the climax and ending of the story later, but I had a tough time caring about Vic’s mission, which was really the main plot of the movie. I did not care about the primary antagonist of the movie, so I did not really care if Vic caught him. It was a generic mission with an even more generic antagonist. It was obvious that the filmmakers did not really care if the plot of this movie was good or if it made any sense. They just wanted some comedy based around this premise, and it seemed like they just slapped together a generic story to string it all together. The comedy worked, so this was not a huge issue, but the plot certainly could have used some work.

movie-review-stuber

Pro: The Premise & The Comedy (+5pts)

Did I think it was setup poorly? Absolutely, but the premise was still silly, and it provided a lot of the movie’s comedy. Vic was desperate to catch Tedjo, but he was temporarily blind. The result was him bumbling around and relying heavily on his new “partner”. That partner was Stu, the Uber driver, who was scared silly, helpless, severely unqualified, and severely unsuited for hunting down dangerous criminals. It was a premise that required the viewer to ignore logic, but it provided a lot of comedic and entertaining moments.

movie-review-stuber

Con: The Climax (-3pts)

The climax of Stuber suffered from the movie having a weak main plot. The climax was obviously where the Tedjo storyline came to a head. It had a plot “twist”, and it had some plot-driven drama between Vic and Stu. Unfortunately, I did not care about any of it.

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I did not care about the Tedjo storyline, because the main plot was so generic. I did not care about the plot “twist”, because it did not involve a character that the audience would care about at all. I did not even care about the plot-driven drama between Vic and Stu, because it was really obvious how everything would play out. The movie had plenty of decent comedy—some of which was in the climax—but the climax definitely suffered from a poorly written and predictable plot.

movie-review-stuber

Pro: Nicole & Becca (+3pts)

Nicole (Natalie Morales) and Becca (Betty Gilpin) represented the two side plots, both of which I thought worked really well. Nicole was Vic’s daughter who felt overlooked, as her father was always focused on his work and did not seem to care about what she was doing. Becca had put Stu firmly in the friend-zone, and while he wanted desperately to get out, he had no idea how to do that. Nicole and Becca were essential at setting up Vic and Stu' stories. The filmmakers made Vic and Stu feel like real people, whose stories I cared about. They did this by introducing two side-characters whose stories made us sympathize with the main characters, and the actresses in these roles were effective at bringing those stories to the screen.

movie-review-stuber

Con: The Ending (-2pts)

The ending of this movie was another unfortunate example of poor writing. The filmmakers clearly gave little effort to the main plot of this movie, and the falling action of the movie was more evidence of that. I would not go as far as to say the falling action was “bad”, as it certainly did not hurt the movie much, but it was a very predictable, cookie-cutter kind of ending. I was not exactly expecting an M. Night Shyamalan style plot twist, but the ending of this movie did not do anything special, and sort of felt like the filmmakers were going through the motions.

Grading Scale

GradeCategoryPoints

A+

Amazing

95-100

A-

Great

90-94

B+

Good

85-89

B-

Decent

80-84

C+

Average

75-79

C-

Watchable

70-74

D+

Bad

65-69

D-

Terrible

60-64

F

Garbage

45-59

movie-review-stuber

Grade: C+ (79pts)

Stuber had some decent comedy, it had two main actors who worked really well together, and it had two main characters with strong character development. The comedy worked so well, because of the silly premise, and the two main actors that delivered it. Both Dave Bautista and Kumail Nanjiani have proven themselves comedically, and in this movie they delivered the comedic style we have come to expect from them. Their characters were developed pretty well, and the filmmakers achieved this by assigning an effective side character to each of them. Nicole and Becca gave Vic and Stu—respectively—interesting, sympathetic stories. Unfortunately, this movie’s biggest problem was a big one, as the overall plot was written very poorly.

The filmmakers had a decent premise, but they did a poor job of setting up that premise. The audience was required to suspend their disbelief in order to get into the plot of this movie, and a good example of this was that Vic—a cop—consistently and continuously put Stu—a civilian—in significant danger when there was no good reason for doing so. The climax and the falling action suffered from a poorly written main plot, and I ended up not caring about the main antagonist, the climactic plot twist, or the movie's resolution. The entire plot of the movie felt like it was lazily slapped together so that the filmmakers could make some comedy around their premise. Fortunately, the movie was funny. I also thought Dave Bautista and Kumail Nanjiani made for a fun duo, and I was pretty invested in the characters they played.

Comments

Michael115 on July 27, 2019:

No problem. Keep up the good work.

Movie Beasts (author) from MA on July 27, 2019:

Well it’s a bummer you disliked this one so much. For me, there was plenty of comedy that worked. While there were no hard, laugh-out-loud moments, the comedy kept me at least somewhat entertained.

As always, thanks for the comment!

Michael115 on July 27, 2019:

The movie was a comedic failure. Never sat through a comedy where I felt like i was watching a three hour long movie.

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