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Film / Stuber

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Prepare for the rideshare of your life.

Stuber is a 2019 action comedy film directed by Michael Dowse (Goon (2011)) and co-staring Kumail Nanjiani and Dave Bautista.

Stu (Nanjiani) is an awkward guy who works as an Uber driver. One day, he picks up a no-nonsense detective named Vic (Bautista), who's on the lookout for Tedjo (Iko Uwais), a ruthless drug lord. Stu ends up going on a wild ride where he needs to work with his tough passenger while keeping that high customer service rating of his.

The film was released on July 12, 2019. It's notable for being Disney's first R-rated release in six years, having not released such a film since the DreamWorks-produced The Fifth Estate.

Previews: Trailer, Red Band Trailer, International Trailer

The film provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Vic tells Stu that his father had left him at the desert, but he thinks it was done to help him shape him into a real man. Stu thinks it was abusive parenting more than anything.
  • Accidental Misnaming: Vic constantly refers to Stu as "Steve."
  • Action Girl: Morris is just as capable as Vic in the opening shootout that ends with her untimely demise.
  • Actor Allusion: In a nod to Batista's WWE career, which ended the same year in which this movie came out, some girls Vic scares out of the Uber Pool complain in their 1-star review that an "André the Giant Motherfucker" yelled at them.
  • Advertised Extra: Karen Gillan appears prominently in some posters... but as the Dead Star Walking entry below shows, her role is minimal.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Vic sometimes calls his daughter, Nicole, by the Tomboyish Name "Nicky".
  • Ambiguously Brown: Stu at first assumes that Vic is white, then hazards a number of guesses at his ethnicity, including Puerto Rican and Chinese. Vic shakes his head at all of Stu's guesses. In real life, Dave Bautista is Greek and Filipino.
  • And Starring: The ads give this treatment to Mira Sorvino and Karen Gillan, who respectively portray Vic's boss Captain Angie McHenry and his partner Sarah Morris.
  • Alone with the Psycho: In the film's climax, Vic finds himself all alone when Angie shows up as "backup" without anyone else accompanying her. It leads to The Reveal that she's the sociopathic Dirty Cop who was aligned with Tedjo the whole time.
  • Artistic License – Medicine: After getting laser eye surgery, Vic's vision is blurry for the rest of the day, and he keeps rubbing his eyes. In reality, he would have his updated vision immediately, though he'd see halos around light sources. His eyes would be extremely irritated and need to heal, however, so he'd be advised not to open his eyes at all for the rest of the day and especially not rub them. He'd also need to be regularly using hydrating and medicating eye drops.
  • As You Know: After Vic's surgery, Nicole explains and demonstrates the Uber app, even though he tells her that he already knows how to use it. Possibly justified, as given his incredible ineptitude with tech in the rest of the film, he's probably lying.
  • Badass Driver: Stu in the film's climax.
  • Better as Friends: Averted. Becca asks to stay friends with Stu after they agree about how they wouldn't work as a couple, but he says that would be too painful until he gets over her. It's left ambiguous if that happens after he starts dating Nicole.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Oka Tedjo and Angie McHenry are working together in order to make sure that he can continue trafficking drugs unimpeded.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Stu runs over Angie just in the nick of time to save Vic from being killed and framed for her crimes. Later on, Tedjo attempts to stab Vic, but Nicole drives in and shoots him in the arm.
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows: Lampshaded when one of Stu's dissatisfied clients complains that his thick eyebrows blocked his view of the road.
  • Blind Without 'Em: Before Vic decides to get LASIK, he attempts to shoot a target without his glasses. None of the bullets hit it.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: When they're collecting guns from Stu's other workplace, he and Vic get into an argument that sees both men make valid points about the other. Stu points out that acting like he does may make Vic a good cop but also a terrible father who's pushing his daughter away without even realising it. Vic counters that Stu needs to man up and admit his feelings for Becca unless he wants to always be stuck in a toxic friendship where he's the perennial Romantic Runner-Up. The film shows that their criticism of each other is legitimate, and by its end, the two men have taken steps to work on their flaws.
  • Brick Joke: During their first ride together, Stu tries to select some music for Vic to listen to, determining that he might by a fan of Styx, and trying to remember a name of one of their songs ("Come Sail Away"). As the two are fleeing Tedjo's goons. Vic said he loves Styx and that Stu had him pegged, while "Come Sail Away" plays in the background.
  • Butt-Monkey: Amo Cortez.
  • Car Fu: Angie gets run over by Stu's car shortly after she's revealed to be the other half of the film's Big Bad Duumvirate.
  • Cavalry Betrayal: After locating the big drug deal, Vic calls in his coworkers for backup. The only one who arrives on time is Angie... who is the Dirty Cop aligned with Tedjo.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: Stu gets thug Amo Cortez to talk by Tweeting love for Ryan Gosling under his username, and threatening to spread a nasty rumor about the thug's boss afterwards.
  • Cop Killer: Tedjo is this just as much as Angie is.
  • Deceased Fall-Guy Gambit: Angie intended to shoot Vic dead and claim he was the Dirty Cop aligned with Tedjo, but thanks to Stu, it doesn't come to pass.
  • Dead Partner: Sarah is introduced as Vic's partner in the prologue, and is killed by Tedjo. Vic will stop at nothing to bring him to justice, dead or alive.
  • Dead Star Walking: Sarah is played by Karen Gillan, but she gets a bullet in the gut five minutes in.
  • Determinator: Vic doesn't let his post-LASIK Temporary Blindness slow down his hunt for Tedjo.
  • Dirty Cop: Angie is actually on Tedjo's payroll and orchestrated much of the movie's conflict.
  • Disposable Woman: Karen Gillan's Officer Sarah Morris is killed in the first five minutes of the film to spur on Vic's vendetta.
  • Double Entendre: One of the movie's taglines states, "Saving the day takes a pair".
  • Drives Like Crazy: Post-LASIK Vic drives like a Grand Theft Auto player with his tires shot out. He quickly plows through a construction zone and into a ditch, forcing him to call an Uber and kickstarting Stu's involvement in the plot.
  • Dropped Glasses: Tedjo kicks Vic's glasses off of his face during their first fight in the movie.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: "Stuber" for Stu; a portmanteau of his name and "Uber".
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: Hilariously parodied. The Nissan Leaf that Stu drives is an electric car, and he tells Vic at some point that it doesn't carry gasoline. It gets totaled in the climax after Tedjo rams into it, and once he's beaten and arrested, it suddenly blows up for no reason, which gets lampshaded and justified by Stu as due to the propane Vic stocked up on before they arrived.
  • Evil All Along: Angie was never on Vic's side given who she really is.
  • Evil Gloating: Angie gloats to Vic about her villainy in the film's climax.
  • Face of a Thug: Stu constantly calls Vic either scary or ugly.
  • Family Versus Career: Vic has a very rocky relationship with his daughter Nicole, as he's more concerned about getting Tedjo than attending her art show. When Stu later calls him out on his obsession with Tedjo, Vic believes it's because he's a good cop, but Stu tells him it's made him a negligent father instead.
  • Handicapped Badass: Vic spends most of the film with severely impaired vision as a result of LASIK eye surgery, but is still capable of beating the hell out of the bad guys and winning shootouts regardless.
  • Harmful to Minors: A few kids happen to watch Stu shoot Amo in the leg, though Stu ends up being the one who gets frightened. The kids are completely unfazed.
  • Heroes Love Dogs: Vic is particularly incensed when Amo feeds his dog several packets of drugs to destroy evidence and goes out of his way to make sure that the dog ends up in better hands. He adopts the dog in the end.
  • Hidden Depths: Stu's Jerkass boss at the sporting goods store actually has hidden insecurities about having only gotten the job thanks to his father.
  • It's Up to You: Double subverted. Vic and Stu run around doing their investigation all by themselves, but when they finally confirm where the big drug deal is taking place, Stu convinces Vic to call in his allies on the force. Too bad Angie is on Tedjo's payroll and was the other half of the Big Bad Duumvirate the whole time. At this point, Vic decides nobody can be trusted and it's up to them.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique:
    • Vic is rather fond of using brute force to get information out of Tedjo's men, whether it's beating them up or pressing against a bullet wound.
    • Played with at one point when Stu convinces him not to pull this on Cortez and instead use psychological torture. Stu then demonstrates this by tweeting about his love for Ryan Gosling, and then threatening to post that his boss wears diapers due to his lactose intolerance.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Vic is a very poor father in general, but he's completely justified in giving Nicole a gun to defend herself after the thugs working for the drug lord he's hunting go as far as to threaten her (and her comments on the matter indicate she's handled a gun before, unlike Stu).
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Vic is abrasive, constantly insults Stu for no reason, and consistently puts his work before his daughter Nicole to the point of showing up to her art show (which she specifically asked him to come to to see her work) just to get her keys... so he can grab some guns. However, it's made clear that a lot of his attitude in the film is due to his single-minded determination to avenge his partner's death. Additionally, he does care about Nicole enough to prioritise her safety when it turns out Teijo knows about her, and makes some valid points about Stu's choices.
  • Kidnapped by the Call: Vic strongarms Stu into ferrying him around as he hunts for Tedjo and actually steals his car keys when Stu gets cold feet to force him to cooperate.
  • Killer Cop: Angie in spades, especially since she doubles as a Cop Killer.
  • Kindly Vet: Dr. Branch, who also doubles as Vic’s Back-Alley Doctor.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Stu's driving in the climax shows signs of this, as the previously mild-mannered Uber driver manages to evade most of their gun-toting pursuit and even manages to use what's at hand to blow some of them up with Vic.
  • Logo Joke:
  • Love Interest: Stu is madly in love with his friend Becca, but she looks at him as Just Friends. After she breaks up with her current boyfriend, she invites Stu to head to her place to relive the night where they had a one-night stand while watching When Harry Met Sally..., but Vic refuses to give Stu a break and let him see her. She turns out to be a Romantic False Lead, as Stu confesses his feelings towards her but realizes she'll never see him the same way due to her taste in men. He ends up going out with Nicole instead.
  • Meaningful Echo: When Vic orders Stu to help detain Amo, he tells Stu, "This is your night in the desert." Stu repeats this to Vic after Stu starts dating Nicole, resulting in the three of them (and Vic's dog) spending Christmas together.
  • Men Don't Cry: Vic is a firm believer of this, and while Stu believes it's okay to cry, Vic tells him that he's never cried once in his life, not even as a child. Vic finally breaks down in Manly Tears during the film's ending when he thanks Stu for saving Nicole's life.
  • The Mole: Angie acts like she's supporting Vic and the LAPD, but her true allegiance is to Tedjo.
  • Nepotism: Stu's boss at the sporting goods store only got his job because of his father. He's actually rather insecure about that as a result.
  • Open Heart Dentistry: When Stu accidentally shoots a thug in the leg, he and Vic take him to a veterinarian who easily removes the bullet with surgery. It's played with and justified a bit in that they also took the thug's dog with them after said thug fed him eight packets of drugs to hide them from Vic, and Vic clearly cares more about the dog's welfare than the thug's.
  • Papa Wolf: One of the easiest ways to set Vic off is to threaten harm to his loved ones. The entire film is kicked off when his young partner is murdered and he sets off on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, he starts a shootout when a thug threatens his daughter, and when Tedjo attempts to shoot Nicole dead just to spite him, he comes this close to strangling him with his bare hands in sheer rage.
  • Portmantitle: Of "Stu" and "Uber".
  • Product Placement: Uber, of course. Stu's car is an electric Nissan Leaf, and he points out that the villains drive Lexus SUVs.
  • Rage Breaking Point: Stu finally snaps when Vic threatens to give him a one-star review, and proceeds to attack him with a golf club, multiple baseball bats, and a bicycle.
  • Rabid Cop: At his worst, Vic is willing to kidnap a civilian to act as his ferry, break into a man's home without a warrant, threaten said man and his friends with a gun, and torture said man for information.
  • The Reveal: Angie is working with Tedjo, having been colluding with him to murder Vic's allies and make sure he can keep on drug trafficking as much as he wants.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Vic runs out to investigate Tedjo and avenge his partner despite the fact that he's suffering from LASIK-induced blindness and can barely see three inches in front of his face.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: Stu does this when introducing himself to Vic.
    Stu: I'm Stu. How do you do?
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Stu is the more emotional one, while Vic is the grizzled Action Hero who does all of the fighting. Much of the movie revolves around their conflicting ideals, with many characters giving Stu a hard time for being passive and not being man enough to admit his feelings for a girl, while Vic gets called out for being inconsiderate and neglectful towards everyone else's feelings.
  • Shoot the Fuel Tank: While getting chased on the road by some bad guys, Stu gets the idea to throw a propane tank at one of them and Vic shoots at it in mid-air. Vic is at first skeptical of the plan, but goes with it anyway. It actually goes through the driver's head before the vehicle crashes and explodes, and both of them get surprised when it actually works.
  • Shout-Out: When Stu first meets the hulking Vic, he jokingly asks if Vic wants to go looking for all the Sarah Connors in Los Angeles.
  • Silent Snarker: Tedjo rarely speaks, but he visibly expresses his disbelief with Stu and Vic.
  • Slasher Smile: Tedjo gives quite a few in the film's last ten minutes or so.
  • The Sociopath: After The Reveal, Angie proves herself to be this. She effortlessly lies to Vic's daughter Nicole in order to hide her true colors, after which she goes to confront Vic herself. Shortly after arriving, Angie gloats about how she’s been setting him up from the start and shoots him once as she prepares to kill him.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Many of the shootouts are scored by very un-action music, such as "The Air That I Breathe" in the clinic (which is kind of diagetic, given the doctor who left the place to walk the dogs was hearing it in his music player).
  • Stress Vomit: After getting caught up in his first full-blown shootout and nearly dying, Stu metaphorically pukes his guts out.
  • Taking the Bullet: Discussed and deconstructed. Stu asks Vic if he's ever taken a bullet for someone, but Vic points out that such a thing is practically impossible because of how fast a bullet moves once it's fired. It's then played straight when Stu ends up doing this anyway to save Nicole's life.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: The massive personality differences between Vic and Stu lead most of their interactions to be this.
  • Temporary Blindness: Vic has this while recovering from a LASIK surgery.
  • Throwing Your Gun at the Enemy: Stu tries to shoot Tedjo while he's holding Vic down, but he instead throws the gun at him when he runs out of ammo. This backfires when Tedjo catches it in mid-air, beats Vic with the weapon, and throws it back to Stu, knocking him down.
  • Time Skip:
    • After Tedjo kills Sarah during the film's prologue, the movie skips ahead six months, with Vic remaining obsessed with avenging her murder.
    • The epilogue takes place four months later, when Vic learns either near or on Christmas that Nicole has started dating Stu.
  • Unflinching Walk: Discussed and defied, as Vic points out that such an action is totally impossible unless you're in Hollywood.
  • Unfortunate Names: Amber Titties. It's French and pronounced "Titi-yes", to the characters' surprise.
  • The Un-Smile: Vic only smiles for photographs, with Stu commenting that his "friendly" grin looks even creepier than his scowl.
  • Villain Has a Point: The thug who Vic kidnaps is a total scumbag, but he's not wrong when he points out that Vic doesn't have a warrant and his actions qualify as Police Brutality.
  • Wham Shot: In the lead-up to the film's climax, Vic tells Stu to send a text to one of Tedjo's associates which deceitfully claims that the former died. The recipient is seen reading that text, and the camera zooms out to reveal the person as none other than Angie McHenry.
  • Where Everybody Knows Your Flame: Stu and Vic go to a gay bar to get information.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Angie not only gloats about and details her plan to Vic, but then only wounds him once instead of shooting him dead.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy:
    • After finding out that Angie is a cop, Stu briefly starts asking if Vic is a Dirty Cop who's been using him as a pawn. However, it's Angie who's been using everyone who isn't Tedjo as pawns in their shared scheme.
    • Stu's Jerkass boss thought they had a Vitriolic Best Buds relationship and is horrified to realize that he was just bullying Stu.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: After Vic can finally see again, he briefly goes blind once more after some Sriracha sauce gets into his eyes.