Rhymes with MacGruber. Might be less elevating than that almost decade old action fiasco (a spin-off of an SNL sketch whose domestic returns couldn’t equal its budget) which starred Will Forte, Kristen Wiig, and Val Kilmer (as the heavy) because of what its game headliners bring to the mix.
Tuber finds solace uniting crudity to its mayhem and wit that for older cineastes may hearken back to stuff like Midnight Run and 48 Hrs. Its the buddy comedy template in our ‘Uber’ age that could be considered as a modern lurid and snarky spin on Collateral. Though it isn’t fair to Martin Brest and Michael Mann to mention Michael dowse’s film with theirs.
But, perhaps the set-up is inviting enough for those into the pairing of Pakistani-American Kumail Nanjiani and beefy Filipino descendant Dave Bautista as the former looks for an opportunity to receive the coveted five-star rating for the semi-eponymous ride-share app. Nanjiani’s Stu will have to take Bautista’s unhinged, driven Vic all over (with at least a couple of eye-catching set pieces) to apprehend a brutal drug baron (a one dimensional, if volatile Iko Uwais of The Raid).
This odd couple are together because Vic is just a recipient of Lasik surgery and plenty of banter ensures with Nanjiani (given plenty of pungent verbiage) doing his stand-up narrative just doesn’t spark more than being an advertisement for what has potential for a gratuitous drollery —more humdrum than outrageous fun if one considers the likes of the recent Baby Driver). Natalie Morales, Karen Gillian, and Betty Gilpin are the notable distaff elements, mostly devices for the reluctant duo to lift each other to a better place, so to speak.
You see Nanjiani had more ideal material in The Big Sick where he toiled in the same occupation (he co-wrote it, too) and Bautista more doltish appeal as Drax in Guardians of the Galaxy. A self-hep exchange is par for the course between Stu and Vic in between the kind of interludes that could safe John Wick Chapter 3 Parabellum applauders.
Nonetheless, Stuber mostly stubs itself from the generic approach which extends to a mostly shallow delivery of course with an edge that is misjudged by Dowse (who excelled in a gritty ice-hockey milieu in Goon awhile back). Here, the raging and risible hardly constitute an infectious experience, let alone anything near five-star or Green Book camaraderie. Though it may considered a great vehicle for the voluble ninny in Nanjiani and the bonkers, bespectacled Bautista the retro modern clashing with its share of shoot-outs and chases just isn’t as sensible as Stu’s electric car.