Jacob Richardson | 11/07/2019
Funny enough to hold your interest, but STUBER never really hits its stride.
Stu (Kumail Nanjiani) is desperately in love with his friend from college Becca (Betty Gilpin); so much so that he is willing to co-fund her dream of a spin class for single women called Spinster. To do so, though, he needs to make money, and his occasional shifts at a local sporting goods store aren’t making ends meet. He starts doing Uber (in the process unfortunately earning himself the nickname of Stuber), and seems to be doing OK from it. That is until he needs to pick up Vic (Dave Bautista).
Anyone who saw The Big Sick, the charming and moving rom-com that catapulted Nanjiani to stardom may be expecting something more from STUBER. STUBER isn’t nearly as nuanced, funny or relatable - despite what the incessant Buzzfeed listicles would have you believe. And frankly, there isn’t a lot of heart on display here either - emotionality is as contrived as possible, and wholly predictable.
That being said, STUBER is consistently funny. Not debilitatingly so, but enough to have you chuckling away in your seat at regular intervals. Mainly this is down to Najiani, who plays well when throwing witty banter at Bautista’s Vic, but excels when able to really flex his deadpan observational comedy.
Bautista is good too, although not as much of a standout. This is often down to his straight-man role, although he does get a number of good physical comedy moments. The pair are surrounded, however, by a series of nothing characters who frequently frustrate; from a barely there performance from Vic’s boss to a pair of egregiously annoying performances from Stu’s unrequited love and his store manager.
Those characters add up to one simple conclusion about STUBER: it feels like it shouldn’t be a movie. There is a funny premise here, but the creative team behind this film just can’t find a reason to justify it out to a feature length runtime. And the Uber gags get old, real fast.
STUBER feels like a waste of precious feature film space. It’s funny in places, but there isn’t enough story here to make it memorable.