Stuber ★★★

In a desolate summer of blockbuster sequels and Disney remakes and Pokémon moonlighting as detectives, it’s hard to overstate how refreshing it is to see a studio movie as silly and self-contained as Michael Dowse’s “Stuber.” Spider-Man is nowhere to be found. The biggest action scene is set in a sporting goods store. And the hero isn’t fighting to save the planet, but only to help pay for the small business he wants to open with his crush (it’s a spinning gym geared towards single women called “Spinsters”). If not for the triple-underlined nowness of an action-comedy about a rideshare driver — will that premise make even a lick of sense to anyone in the future? — and a socially conscious subtext about the perils of toxic masculinity, this is the kind of fun July diversion that Hollywood might’ve made 20 years ago.

We’re talking about a movie that’s called “Stuber” because it’s about a guy named Stu who drives an Uber; a movie that starts with Dave Bautista exploding through the walls of a Los Angeles hotel like he’s the Kool-Aid Man, and ends with Kumail Nanjiani fighting the guy from “The Raid.” At one point, a very large penis in the background is likened to beloved film character Simon Birch. What more do you want? The world is on fire. The film industry is self-immolating. It’s 90 degrees in Anchorage, but America’s multiplexes are still cold enough to keep “Dark Phoenix” from actually rotting on the screen. At worst, “Stuber” is a way to get out of the sun without a superhero in sight. At best, it’s a veritable time machine that’s powered by enough chemistry to fuel an entire franchise — a franchise you hope never comes to pass. In this day and age, that feels like $15 well spent.

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