Don’t pay to watch Stuber. Don’t watch Stuber for free. With a bit of luck and a healthy degree of insight you’ll never fully appreciate the benefits of this advice because you’ll have never seen Stuber. On hearing that I was to be attending the pre-release screening of Stuber, a few of my friends individually voiced their opinion that Kumail Nanjiani is consistently part of quality productions. They were proven wrong by Stuber not even a week later. Stuber fears quality. Stuber is stupid. To write a review on Stuber is almost as painful as watching Stuber because it means I have to think about Stuber.
I’ll backpedal a little bit and suggest that there may be people out there who, upon watching the trailer for Stuber or seeing the poster for Stuber, might think that going to a cinema to watch Stuber is still a good idea. Let them. They may just well enjoy Stuber. They deserve Stuber. Stuber advertises its crudeness blatantly. I’ve used the word Stuber a lot already in this review as a means of emphasising that the title is the primary warning regarding Stuber’s worth of your time. Nanjiani‘s character is called Stu. He drives an Uber. It’s the best joke in the film and it makes my brain feel awful.
The serious lack of inspiration in regard to any of the fields of cinematic entertainment with which Stuber engages is staggering. It is primarily an action comedy though it is neither funny nor exciting. Do we then observe it as a drama? It doesn’t work on that level either. It is rare that a film falls so flat on almost every level but Stuber manages it with such brazen assurence that it almost seems intentional.
My friends’ confidence in Nanjiani isn’t entirely misplaced. He has been involved with excellent productions in both film and television. The Big Sick is one of the better romantic comedies of recent memory and HBO’s Silicon Valley is consistently funny. It’s not entirely clear whether Nanjiani’s comedic instincts fall flat in Stuber or whether he is burdened by a restrictive script. ‘Restrictive’ is just one of many adjectives one might use to describe Stuber‘s script.
Two critical and relatively recent influencers on the filmmaking industry are Netflix and Marvel. Netflix doesn’t rely on audience decision the way an old video shop would and therefore arguably impacts the level of commitment we have to films we choose on streaming platforms. If we’re not immediately enjoying something, we can abandon the choice for something else at the click of a button. Marvel has slowly indoctrinated us to expect less of large-scale Hollywood filming, pushing the business aspect of an industry that was already suffocated by commerce.
I don’t blame Netflix or Marvel for Stuber but if the film is a success I feel as though our declining expectations of ourselves in regard to cinema have something to do with it. If you’re a glutton for punishment or you find enjoyment in the very worst examples of art forms then Stuber may be the film for you. For everyone else, there’s over a century of wonderful filmmaking out there. You don’t need Stuber in your life. I wish it hadn’t been part of mine.