The driver got me lost, so two stars for him

The biggest guilty pleasure of mine within the decade is “Let’s Be Cops,” which ripped off the first “Hangover” movie by allowing two guys to pretend to be cops in order to have fun. The true reason why I enjoyed that movie is because of the charming chemistry between Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans, Jr.

“What does that have to do with my “Stuber” review?,” you’re asking.

The movie splices “Ride Along” with “Midnight Run,” as in the digital age when Ubers and iPhones have taken over, and Kumail Nanjiani, who desperately wants 5 stars, is forced to drive Detective Dave Bautista. It sounds like 20th Century Fox, the distributer of “Stuber,” is looking for extra potatoes, and figured they’d use this set-up as a cash grab.

At least “Let’s Be Cops” took more risks than “Stuber” did. Most of the material is bland and tired; there are fight scenes which may leave you in a tizzy; and it has the same old chemistry: a tough cop and a nice guy.

First off: Nanjiani is named Stu, an Uber Driver (Stuber; get it?), has received one star ratings from his passengers. Nanjiani wrote himself brilliantly and honestly in “The Big Sick,” but here, he’s written with generic mild-mannered material. At least, he wasn’t as annoying as his alien character in “Men in Black International.”

Second thing: he has a sex buddy Becca (Betty Gilpin), who’s just broke up another man. She’s waiting for him to play with her, and he’s doesn’t have the courage to tell her his real feelings for her. There isn’t anything unique about this subplot at all, and I knew he wouldn’t end up with her.

Third thing: the main cop is Vic (Bautista), who lost his partner (Karen Gillan, Bautista’s “Guardians” co-star to drug trafficker Oka Tedjo (Iko Uwais), and is near-sighted. His doctor tells him to wear prescription sunglasses for the day, but he throws them out the Uber window. Is he purposely trying to blind himself? At least he has an eye test card.

“Uber window,” because Stu is forced to drive him to various places to find the villain. He wants out, but Vic agrees to give him his long-awaited five stars. They have about four funny moments together, but most of the dialogue is dull and lackluster, while these two have to have an unnecessary fight scene in a sports store, where Stu also works at.

Last thing: if you bet money on Mira Sorvino as Vic’s boss not being dirty, then you’ll lose. That’s just predictable, given the circumstances.

The funny moments I’m spoiling are when Stu threatens a criminal (Rene Moran), by tweeting “I Love Ryan Gosling” on his Twitter page; when he lies about being Vic’s daughter’s (Natalie Morales) godfather; and when he tries to use a factory phone to call the police. I’ve forgotten what the other funny thing was, but that’s pretty much it.

“Stuber” is not original; it’s not brilliant; and it’s not smart. I should give it one and a half stars, but at least there are some comical and nice moments. But that’s not enough for me to recommend, so two stars from me.

Sorry Driver. Maybe next time.


Categories: Action, comedy, Crime

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