Dubios-er

It’s difficult to create a more non-manly archetype than Stu (Kumail Nanjiani). He doesn’t use guns. He works at a retail store. Nutrition matters to him. Stu cried once. His car? All electric. The horror.

That’s what Stuber wants. Stu pairs with the bulky Vic (Dave Bautista), a cartoonish opposite, a cop with anger issues and violent tendencies. All Vic wants is for Stu to “man up,” shoot people, and fight stuff. The entire relationship is based on what it means to be a guy’s guy who does guy stuff while fighting other guys. Stuber relies on this singular joke as the core of its humor.

Getting past the manliness quotient is a challenge. Stuber’s opportunity comes in the end as the star duo wake up in a hospital. Maybe Vic learned something (he shed a single tear), but not really. They both come away the same people they were, marginally changed, with Stu likely carrying decades of mental strain from the whole thing. And Vic, he likely leaves the hospital and clotheslines someone on the street. This comes after an awkward brawl in a sporting goods store, another staging point for the pair to learn, but nope.

Modern comedy too often keeps every improv line; not Stuber

Stuber provides laughs, admittedly. It’s vulgar enough, and wildly absurd violence mocks the action genre’s stupidest moments. During the climactic car chase, Stuber invokes Jaws – which works better than expected. Some brazen gore is given a moment too. Nanjiani is a comedic goldmine and Bautista fares well given this pairing. A total lack of reality helps with this fantasy, as if a retail worker in LA (and part time Uber driver) can afford a new-ish electric car. That’s never even discussed, lest Stuber confront a real world issue.

The plot matters least, a creaky drug saga where Iko Uwais’ martial arts talents go wasted as a villain. Vic spends most of Stuber chasing Uwais down, getting into fights or shoot-outs because that’s what action comedies do. Stu screams a lot; that’s what his type of character does.

To its credit, Stuber slims down. Modern comedy too often keeps every improv line; not Stuber. At 90-minutes, jokes fly at a sharp pace, as does the limited narrative. Refreshing, in a way. Rarely is it boring, just grating while (constantly) making a point about what men need to be.

Video

A swath of Stuber is flushed with heavy orange grading. It’s hot – so says the car radio at one point – and the California sun bakes itself into the color palette. That said, it’s a lot, and comes off as overdone and gaudy. Eventually, night allows a counter from blues, a relief.

What matters is whether the encode handles this well. It does. While digital cinematography suffers from bouts of noise, the Blu-ray holds this back save for a Uwais close-up late (for whatever reason, that’s buzzing with chroma artifacts).

Detail leisurely rolls out, defined and clean. Strong resolution offers needed consistency. Facial definition leaps forward while some aerials of LA’s skyline produce firm sharpness. No aliasing to speak of.

Rich contrast betters the meandering black levels. Stuber needs a touch of real density, more comfortable with gray/blue shadows than pure black. Still, dimension is evident and hefty, just not grand.

Audio

Spacious DTS-HD sends gunfire through the soundstage, keeping things active as needed. A car chase near the end ranks highly for its ability to pan vehicles between channels accurately, this while managing a bold soundtrack and dialog sans any loss.

Dynamics stretch the material, boomy in the low-end when depicting a shotgun blast or explosion. Smaller guns make themselves known too. Music flares up, keeping a steady, potent beat. Stuber lacks anything grandiose, but finds a sufficient base to work from.

Extras

Director Michael Dowse teams with star Kumail Nanjiani for a commentary, and they keep going over five deleted scenes if you so choose that option. A brief gag reel is followed by an improv reel. A gallery and trailers come up last.

Stuber
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
3

Movie

Stuber takes a stance on masculinity and places all of its humor in that same repetitive line of thinking.

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