By: Felix Felicis (Six Pack) –
So life sucks and then you die. In a nutshell. Mostly everyone can agree on the life and death part (unless you live in a remote Colorado town I passed through once where everyone who took a sip from the town’s well got to live forever but I was, like, on a total water cleanse at the mo and they didn’t have any substitute almond immortality on hand so I kept driving). It’s the what happens after death that’s been fucking shit up on Earth since the actual, literal beginning of time (I’m gonna guess maybe Tuesday at 5-ish? It would explain a lot, not the least of which being: Taco Tuesday, the holiest of days).
Now I told you that to tell you this: imagine, say, you’re a film critic (or whomever, this example is totally not a direct comparison to anyone who may or may not currently be typing) on the far end of the agnostic side of the spectrum. You’re not ruling out the existence of a higher power but it’s hard to imagine Stuber being a part of anyone’s “intelligent” design – unless toxic masculinity and a total disregard for anything resembling a divine (or even remotely non-offensive) purpose were a part of this preordained shicture (pronounced like “picture” only a thousand times worse).
Stuber takes the basic (and wholly inappropriate) dialed-down… ish premise of Deadpool and slams it upside Die Hard’s head with enough concussive force that the movie manages to vomit out its last words with one final gasp: “2004’s Taxi… with Queen Latifah… and Jimmy Fallon… was… better.” before imploding into a puff of dust with little more fanfare than a slight change in air pressure that makes your ears pop, accompanied by a tiny squeak as if a mouse had farted directly into a boom mic after eating an incredibly small piece of cake.
I don’t even know what to put here. The only way this movie is (close to) survivable from opening titles all the way through to closing credits is if you slap a dystopian, Black Mirror-infused filter on top of Stuber and interpret this disturbing, tone-deaf lead balloon of buddy cop(esque) dramedy as peak 2019, Bizzaro World-level, satire.
So, instead, please find the tiny mouse that lives in this Stuber review enjoying an(other) equally tiny piece of cake. The mouse will probably fart again. We can only hope it doesn’t poop out a sequel.
Fuck it. I quit.
Can we *not* with the reinforcement-of-stereotypes-done-in-the-hollow-name-of-defusing-them anymore?
I literally cannot.
But seriously. You can’t have your *charcuterie (*Bachelor in Paradise food example) and eat it, too (any more cake references and we’re all getting super diabetes). Call me that airline that won’t continue flying from Ireland to the US after the 747 Max grounding because “the route’s just not ‘fiscally feasible’ anymore”. Sure, Norwegian Airlines, you “broke up” with your “girlfriend who lives in Canada” because “the long-distance was just *too* hard”.
I’ll buy that vowel… and the rationale behind passing Stuber off as a (deliberately satirized) toxic action movie trope addressing the current breakdown of contemporary masculinity as it crashes against the relic of traditionally held masculine ideals from eras bygone. Similar to when you shake a lava lamp super hard like it’s a Harry Potter piggy-bank holding onto two twenty-dollar bills you popped in there awhile back and just can’t get out and your arms are so tired now that you kind of wish Voldemort hadn’t botched that baby assassination – because then you’d have your money back already (also, that very specific example is in no way how I spent an hour last Tuesday). Either way you (and Stuber) end up with a hot mess of fundamentally incompatible elements trapped together, forever, in squishy bubble hell. Don’t ask me why anyone would shake a lava lamp, or have any part of making this movie, that’s between them and their Flying Spaghetti Monster.
It’s been awhile since I’ve seen a movie so chock-full of both micro AND macro-level aggressions, not to mention crimes perpetrated, by, for, in the name of, and against, women. Much like a FUBU of systemic bias, dog-whistling to anyone who doesn’t view equality for any (and all) minorities subverted by society (intentionally or not) as a basic human right; Stuber fans the flames on the very dumpster fire it (theoretically) seeks to extinguish.
Give me more than – maybe – ONE female (or non-binary) character whose importance (and relevance) to the core narrative isn’t dependent on how she/they relate to a male character and I’ll show you a movie that’s not this one. Stuber is smoking some NEXT LEVEL shit as it weaponizes, warps, and distorts the medium of satire managing to, somehow, impressively, accomplish nothing more than finishing in a triple-tie-photo-finish for what I regret watching most this past year (alongside MIIIIB and Super Troopers 2).
You can check out my review of that conservative-twitter-troll-catnip aka my assassination of the Men In Black: International franchise right here.
I can’t believe I’m saying this but Live Free or Die Hard was more enlightened that this fucked up, derivative, phallus-driven fuckwittery. To be fair, Die Hard 4 was just about partnering a tough-as-nails asshole cop (Stuber‘s John McClane equivalent being Dave Bautista’s Detective Vic Manning) together with a goofy-but-relatable-everyman-type-character (Hacker Matt Ferrell’s Bizarro Clone being Kumail Nanjiani’s Stu) together – inadvertently by ‘fate’- to solve a case/widespread conspiracy (while addressing contemporary themes of opposing masculine theological paradigms), ending with Nerdy Sidekick coming through in the clutch and earning surly respect from Grumpy Cop (Sidekick also ends up with Grumpy Cop’s daughter) while Stuber was totally different and absolutely *not* the same story packaged like Vienna Sausage into a much, much sadder little tin of mushy regret.
Put “Holding Out For A Hero” on repeat. You’re welcome in advance.
This music video is, definitively, the greatest five minutes in recorded history.
You also just saved $12 and two hours of your life you’ll never, ever get back by watching that instead of Stuber. I’m not kidding, I could write a magnum opus on the lens by which we view traditional ‘gender’ roles and conformity through – with a focus on evolving values and social scope – warping what was once –
rightly or wrongly – deemed “normal” (even expected) into a satirical kaleidoscope of Fun House distortions considered ridiculous by today’s standards and ideals, as illustrated by this, the most breathtaking music video of all time. Okay, I’m being A TEENSY BIT hyperbolic here, but (any way you slice it) this Bonnie Tyler MASTERPIECE is my spirit animal.
Stuber, on the other hand, was a Sloppy Joe filled with plot holes and weak narrative cohesion squished so hard between two-dimensional slices of bread that it oozed out the sides, leaving audiences covered in a unique blend of numb regret and meaty disappointment. I’m all for willing suspension of disbelief but there’s a difference between suspending the inaccuracies of everyday rules/police-work and blowing right past them like a stop sign you view as more of a “suggestion”. I’d even Bend [The Rules] Like Beckham (that’s a deep-cut early Kiera Knightley film reference and you’re welcome), but Stuber takes that shit and drop-kicks it into the sun, Good Place-style, so by the time the credits roll the only thing left to bury are the ashes of cinematic narrative integrity and whatever is left of that dog.
Beer Five aka Do I Hate Dave Bautista Now?
Yes I do.
Not since 2018’s Robin Hood (alongside the previously mentioned triple crown of terrible films from Beer Three) have I been as angry at a movie for reinforcing toxic masculinity (and pretty much every other discriminatory stereotype) like Stuber did in this, the year of our Beyonce, 2019. I haven’t fact-checked that statement (above) but you’re welcome to dive through my portfolio to verify because it’s entirely possible, if not probable, that I’ve loathed another film similarly between then and now. Subtlety in cinema is an art form and Stuber is its trailer park cousin twice-removed. Please see the physical embodiment of all that is ‘man’, Detective Vic “My Name Literally Has Man In It With Two ‘N’s For Twice The Machismo” Manning for a direct reference to exactly where the wheels in society can be seen flying off the rails in real time.
This + toxic masculinity = Stuber
Dave Bautista’s dry wit and stone-faced (authentic) charm can be seen during every frame of his turn as Drax in the MCU… Buuuuuuut if you take the exact same lack of emotion and create a character without *any* empathy or redeeming qualities whatsoever that experiences no growth (or character arc) throughout objectively teachable trials and tribulations during their narrative journey (then have that character come out the other side of the finish line having learned nothing and being forgiven for all their past transgressions by sheer virtue of simply *surviving* them) and you’ll end up with the exact same negative void that I spent two hours screaming into after viewing Stuber.
Listen up, my toasty little waffles. Do you hate your mother, father, sister, brother, roommate, friend, co-worker and/or anyone who speaks to you in public?
WHOO BOY HAVE I GOT THE BEST REVENGE FLICK EVER FOR YOU.
Step 1: make them watch Stuber.
Step 2: repeat Step One as needed.
It’s hard enough to cut through the noise and find worthwhile hidden gems in film (or even enjoy a popcorn blockbuster) on an everyday basis without the cinematic pipeline getting clogged by superfluous, derivative crap logs like Stuber. There’s a circle in hell somewhere between gender-swapped rebootquels that rely on nothing more than regurgitating the same plot with different plumbing and sequels/reboots (including but not limited to live-action adaptations of vintage animated children’s movies) of untouchable, time-honored classics reproduced for no other reason than to retain the rights to the intellectual property *cough* Fantastic Four *cough* and/or to make money off of a new generation who hasn’t seen the (almost certainly better) originals.
I don’t know what I hate more about Stuber: how much money Uber (probably) paid to be mentioned every 4.7 seconds/allowed their name and brand to be referenced in a gratuitous hand-job for publicity’s sake (either way it’s not a good look for them) *or* that an entire feature film was pieced together Frankenstein’s Monster-style from dumpster-salvaged crap and – almost certainly – written based on the premise of its (idiotic pun of) a name alone. His name is Stu and he works for Uber. He’s Stuber. Ah. Stop. My funny bone. It aches so.
I never thought the time would come that I OF ALL PEOPLE would rue the day a terrible pun was born, but here we are with Stuber as the culprit that killed the last of my will to live (and love of puns) in the Library with a lead pipe. Add that to my completed (and only definitive) life goal of being taller than my mother (check) and I guess I’m done now? If anyone needs me, I’ll just be over here, walking into the ocean and dissolving into a flurry of sea foam; reunited once again with the floating garbage patch from whence I came.
Stuber (2019) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: whenever Vic coerces Stu into being his personal chauffeur/backup/sidekick.
Take a Shot: every time Stu gets popped in and out of the friendzone like a demented whack-a-mole ferret getting whiplashed by his business partner.
Take a Sip: anytime Uber and/or ride ratings are shown and/or mentioned.
Take a Drink: each time Stu gets pushed around by Vic, his sporting goods store boss and/or pretty much anyone else.
Shotgun Your Beer: when Stu finally realizes that tying your intrinsic value of self-worth to external factors isn’t healthy but self-confidence and self-care are the *real* five-star rides. Just kidding. Just chug a cold one when Stu literally gets the five-star ride-share review he spent nearly eight hours committing misdemeanor felonies for.