Rideshare fun

Dave Bautista as Vic and Kumail Nanjiani as Stu in "Stuber."

By Paul Hall

Ridesharing is an easy way to get around town when you can’t or don’t want to drive. I’ve used it on a number of trips, and I always find myself in the back seat of a new and interesting driver’s vehicle in a variety of cities. But I’ve also heard the stories — the stories of the rides that aren’t as basic as mine. And when you take a cop looking to catch a bad guy and put him in the car of a driver desperate for a good rating, you get the new film Stuber.

Stu (Kumail Nanjiani) is an Uber driver who is just looking for five-star reviews. In the hustle and bustle of the rideshare world, many of Stu’s rides are less than accommodating despite his pleasurable personality and calm environment. He’s only doing Uber as a second job because he needs extra money to help the girl he’s secretly in love with. Stu has always been a bit of a pushover — his boss takes advantage of him, the girl he is chasing convinces him to use what little money he has to help her open the business of her dreams and his Uber passengers run over him, leaving him with a dwindling rating and on the verge of losing his increasingly needed second job.

Vic (Dave Bautista) is a cop who has lost his partner but has never given up on finding the man responsible. As he’s aged, his vision has deteriorated, but he is about to address it with LASIK surgery. That means no driving until his vision is restored, so his daughter Nicole (Natalie Morales) sets him up with the Uber app to make sure that he will be able to attend her gallery show that evening. But when a tip rolls in on the location of cop killer Oka Tedjo (Iko Uwais), he decides to enlist Stu’s services to be his personal chauffeur. Of course, Vic doesn’t understand how Uber works, but that doesn’t stop him from pressuring Stu, who is all about a five-star rating.

Stu and Vic set out on a ride that will go down in Uber lore — to catch the bad guy, they will both need to exit their comfort zone.

A buddy road movie needs to cast the leads properly, and Nanjiani and Bautista come across as genuinely having fun playing off one another. It’s that chemistry between the two that carries the film through some of the weaker moments. I cheered for Nanjiani to toughen up and for Bautista to lighten up.

Where Stuber is lacking is in its story, which I never really cared about. The action and search for Tedjo seemed ancillary to the Uber jokes that were working. If it weren’t for the incredibly talented Nanjiani in the role of Stu, I really believe this would have fallen off the rails.

One thing is for certain: I won’t be selecting the Uber pool option after this viewing, but I will continue riding as one can only hope to get in the care of a driver as conscientious as Stu. Although Stuber left a lot on the table that could have been done better, I still enjoyed my ride with the five-star effort and comedic moments featured in Stuber.

Paul’s Grade: B-

Rated R
Stars: Dave Bautista, Kumail Nanjiani, Iko Uwais
Director: Michael Dowse

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The Lion King
Rated PG
Voices of: Donald Glover, Seth Rogen, Chiwetel Ejiofor
Director: Jon Favreau
The 1994 animated classic about Simba’s growth into the would-be king gets an updated look in this remake.