(Release Info London schedule; July 12th, 2019, Picturehouse Central, Corner of Shaftesbury Avenue, Piccadilly Circus, London W1D 7DH, United Kingdom, 9:00 PM)
Stu (Kumail Nanjiani) is a chatty, mild-mannered, risk-averse 'Millennial' who works in a sporting goods store while moonlighting as an 'Uber Driver' trying to make enough money to finance a spin gym business to get with Becca, (Betty Gilpin), the girl of his dreams; a plan that’s about as likely to work as it sounds. He will do anything to save his five-star driver’s rating. Vic Manning (Dave Bautista) is a middle aged, old school, alpha detective. He’s divorced from his wife, married to his job, and neglectful of his parental duties to his grownup artist daughter, Nicole (Natalie Morales). Years of using his hulking body as a battering ram have taken it's toll, but Vic still pushes it to the limit. Allergic to both conversation and technology, Vic is quick to get angry and quick to pull the trigger, a combo that everyone loves in a cop! One day, leaving his 'Eye Doctor’s (Roger Payano) office after having 'Lasik Surgery', Vic receives a tip on the whereabouts of The Columbian Drug Dealer' Tedjo (Iko Uwais) who murdered his partner Sara Morris (Karen Gillan). Unfortunately, Vic wouldn’t be able to spot a whale if it's right in front of him. Even a white one. Eyes blurry and unable to drive himself, Vic calls for an 'Uber', and guess who answers. Can these two very different men share a 'Nissan Leaf' while hunting drug dealers across Los Angeles? It's 'The Old Couple' but with more exploration.
For the film’s opening where Vic and his partner Sara are in hot pursuit of drug dealer Tedjo, the film is inspired by the tense, breathtaking action sequences that open the 'James Bond' films. The film opens with a massive sequence that would sort of set the tone that this is going to be a violent, fast-moving film with consequences. And audiences are in for quite a ride. The opening is originally conceived to be something where Vic jumps into a pool from four or five stories up on the outside of the hotel. You've one continuous shot of Vic making a decision to get from Point A to Point B as quickly as possible when he hears his partner is in peril. In the first 10 minutes of this movie you will know what you’re in store for. Or, you know, as grounded as an edge-of-your-seat run-and-gun car chase across Los Angeles can be. It's important that the average moviegoer can relate to the characters. We’re not going to try to pull any cheap punches with cheap jokes.
We start with this buddy cop Vic, whose partner has been killed and he’s been seeking vengeance for years. Vic is a muscle-bound alpha who thinks feelings are for women and children ages three and under. He’s incredibly smart and knows exactly what he needs. He embodies the tough guy physique and can take a punch. He looks a little more surly, a little bit more disheveled. Vic is sort of the traditional, stoic, or angry action hero of the past. Once you’re four, it’s time to man up. And it just so happens the day he gets 'Lasik Surgery' is when he has an opportunity to catch the bad guy. So, not getting the official go ahead from his boss, he calls 'Uber' and Stu picks him up and the fun ensues. There’s nothing like humanizing a superhero by giving him blurred vision from 'Lasik Eye Surgery' which not only causes him this hilarious disorientation but also shows his age and vulnerability which paired with his size and strength is just amazing. Most of the film’s humor stems from the differences between Vic and Stu, two guys who couldn’t be more different.
Stu is an 'Uber Driver'. He's a sensitive beta-male who relies on his empathy and wit. He cries at movies. And at TV shows. To be honest, he cries at everything. We’ve probably all experienced an 'Uber Driver' like Stu. He’s got all types of treats. He’s got gum, mints, little mini waters, all types of different charging devices. And he's desperately seeking five stars from you. Stu and his five-star ratings is a whole thing. Everybody has been in an 'Uber' and has had a gabby 'Uber Driver', and somebody who sort of rattles on and aims to please and that embodies Stu. Stu is sort of chasing other people’s dreams picking up extra 'Uber' shifts to try and finance the spin gym dream for this girl he pines for. He’s a hardworking guy. He’s a very amicable guy, but he hasn’t really found his passion or sort of who he's. We’re basically taking sort of an everyday character and dropping him into this gritty L.A.
There’s a bit of wish fulfillment in terms of what a day in a life like that would be like if suddenly you took your average 'Uber Driver' and put him into a crime world and see if he would survive or how he would. There’s also the generation gap in that Stu is a 'Millennial' who lives on social media while Vic thinks ‘Snapchat’ is when a crackhead tries to bite your nose off during an interrogation. There’s this generational divide. You've Vic who has no idea how to use 'Uber', so we get to watch him stumble with the concept of it and he jumps right into the front seat and demands to go to a certain destination. Then you've Stu trying to explain this isn’t how the app works. The characters change so much throughout the course of the night where Stu learns to stand up for himself. He learns to fight. Vic learns to be a little bit more sensitive to others and to be a guy who sort of listens, and a guy who realizes he can do things himself. And he needs help, and he needs people around him and he needs support like we all do.
Tedjo is a drug dealer who runs heroin all across 'The West Coast' and he doesn’t say much, which makes him almost more scary. His demeanor paired with his fighting skills makes for a psycho and really a bad guy. Nicole is definitely her father’s daughter. They bump heads a lot, and she clearly just wants her father to be present in her life, but the job has always come first. She’s strong-willed and has chosen to be an artist which couldn’t be farther from being in law enforcement. Nicole keeps trying for her dad to be a normal, cool dad but he’s a little out of touch and jagged around the edges. Becca is the flighty friend that Stu dreams of making his girlfriend. It’s one of those situations where you’re seeking love from someone who’s never going to give it back to you. She's fun. She's crazy. She's different. And that kind of energy is what Stu is drawn towards. Richie (Jimmy Tatro) is Stu’s boss. He's the manager of his father’s sporting goods store called 'Out Of The Box'. Not the nicest guy. He overcompensates for his insecurities by making a career out of belittling Stu. Captain McHenry (Mira Sorvino) is Vic’s boss. She’s worries about Vic because he’s kind of losing it after the death of his partner.
This film is a driving movie, so we spend a lot of time in the car. In these big car chase sequences, Stu is in the car pretending to drive but the steering wheel’s not hooked up and there’s a pod on the roof of the car where someone else is driving. You’re sort of pretending while you've cars flying at you. It's definitely a rush to feel completely safe but still get to be in the wrong lane and have cars coming at you. The pod car is a small roll cage built on top with a driving pod. Imagine the cockpit of a 'Nascar' mounted to the roof of the car. It controls all the controls in the car. It’s all been wired so down in the car Stu behind the wheel has no control of the car. He can’t hit the brakes. He can’t hit the gas, anything. Nothing works for him so he has to act it all out. The rotisserie rig mounts on a car like a rotisserie chicken. It’s mounted on this big, steel structure that's chain driven with a big wheel. The car mounts on this bracket and then cameras are mounted to the car. So the film takes and literally spin the car 360 degrees over and over as if it’s rolling down a hill, which as you’ll see, is one of the escapades these guys endure. The two guys get 'T-Boned' in the 'Nissan Leaf' which launches them through a fence and off an embankment and the car flies off the embankment hits and rolls down this hill. And that’s what the technology allows you to do these days, which is exciting. To make sure the action feels real to audience members. It feels like a roller coaster.
A lot of times action comedies are either very funny and maybe the action is an afterthought or it’s vice-versa and the action is really well done, but the comedy maybe suffers. This is not your typical studio action comedy. The script deals with interesting themes of masculinity where Vic would represent those modern themes of old school sort of 'Marlboro Man' type of masculinity and Stu represents much more of the woke new school of themes of masculinity. It's very interesting to explore those different perceptions of masculinity. Ultimately, these two wildly different characters develop a heartfelt bro-mance and each becomes the better man in the process as they realize that the other has something surprising to teach them about life. There’s a lot of conflict between the characters but they also find common ground. The dynamic really works because it’s two completely different kinds of guys that we all know, sort of forced to spend time together. And these two guys would never, ever, ever be friends, except in the situation where they’re sort of forced to work together, so you've sort of the one guy who’s the new millennial man kind of guy who’s very into talking about his feelings, and is ok with crying, and all that stuff. In addition to presenting a fish out of water situation, the film plays with the topical idea of what it means to be a man in today’s society. There are a lot of layers to this movie, but at the end of the day, the film just going to make people laugh their asses off. It's a pretty unique film.