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'I Laughed More Than I Winced'

Don't expect too much from 'Stuber,' and you'll be fine
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 12, 2019 11:34 AM CDT

(Newser) – A detective walks out of Lasik eye surgery and into a tip on a murderous drug dealer, forcing him to get an Uber driven by a guy named Stu. So begins Michael Dowse's Stuber, which has a 46% rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes. The good and bad:

  • "It's like "Lethal Weapon … with ride sharing," according to Manohla Dargis, who thinks the film "squeaks by on the charm of its two male stars." Dave Bautista is "a natural, magnetic physical presence—a nimble hulk—and fun to watch," even if he's "routinely upstaged" by Kumail Nanjiani, who "transforms a cliché into something resembling a person." Keep in mind, this is meant to be a "dumb" movie, and its story "is as ridiculous as the setup," Dargis writes at at the New York Times.
  • Nanjiani delivers an "endearing" performance. "Unfortunately, it's a performance plopped into a movie that's more interested in stunts, gunfire and carnage than in Nanjiani's particular brand of gently sardonic comedy," Moira Macdonald writes at the Seattle Times. And "despite Nanjiani's best efforts, it's a disposable fast-car summer movie, neither terrible or good," but "not without its funny moments."

  • "Stuber is predictable and violent and ridiculous and not a little stupid" but "I laughed more than I winced," writes Bill Goodykoontz at the Arizona Republic. Indeed, the film is sometimes "hilarious" and "you can thank Kumail Nanjiani for that." He "rises above it all" to become "an oasis of intelligence in a desert of comedic stupidity," Goodykoontz writes. He adds, "I'd love to see Nanjiani and Bautista in another film together."
  • Nanjiani also gets praise from Jake Coyle for his "admirable job trying to give the material a lift." But "Bautista is playing too much to type" and Dowse "struggles to find the right tone, leaning more into slapdash action scenes than jokes," Coyle writes at the AP. The film occasionally "hits just right," he adds. "But most of the time, it flails around in a stale routine."
(Read more movie review stories.)

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