A movie that featured the ride-hailing app Uber prominently came out over the weekend, and even its name strongly hints that Uber plays an important role in the story.
Stuber stars Kumail Nanjiani (he’s in the satirical HBO show Silicon Valley) as an Uber driver named Stu who goes on an epic adventure when a police detective played by Dave Bautista gets matched to his ride. Of course, the cop uses the Uber and Stu to track down a killer. Drama ensues — all while in an Uber.
So there’s more to the plot than just ride-sharing, but still, real Uber drivers might notice some problems with how their livelihood is portrayed on the big screen.
The Rideshare Guy blog founder Harry Campbell was invited to the premiere last Wednesday in Los Angeles, but he said he wasn’t consulted in the making of the movie or for any advice to make it more realistic. Uber said it wasn’t contacted for the film and didn’t have any comment, now that it’s out in theaters.
“It was definitely cool to see [an Uber driver] featured so prominently in a mainstream movie.”
Campbell mapped out what the film gets right and very wrong about driving for Uber. He blogged about the film’s accuracy, pointing out problems with the cancellation policy, deactivation, rating system, and destination inputs. He also called out Stu for driving a Nissan Leaf, which would need to be recharged too often to make sense for an Uber driver. Also every time he received a one-star rating Stu was alerted, which doesn’t happen in real life.
In an email to Mashable, Campbell commended the movie for showing a realistic passenger-driver relationship. “I think every Uber driver can relate to the passenger who gets into the front seat but then stays silent, or the drunk guy on the cusp of vomiting,” he said.
Beyond the accuracy of ride-sharing, Campbell noted the significance of Uber’s role in the comedy.
“It was definitely cool to see the job featured so prominently in a mainstream movie,” he said. “I do think that the job has become normalized.”
Another driver named Tony Pierce found it “super funny” and “laughed out loud many times.” He went on to say in an email that he “did not expect it to be that good.” He also noticed some flaws, but overall appreciated how it showed that you’re “at the mercy of the passengers’ finicky choices on how they want to rate you” and other common experiences while driving for Uber.
For other drivers, there wasn’t enough time between rides to get to the theater since the Friday release.
nope, no time off, especially weekends, it’s catch up on sleep, do HW, or Drive. #Funhastowait
— iMergeAndSee (@iMergeAndSee) July 16, 2019
As Campbell noted, the movie wasn’t a huge moment for the ride-share driver profession, but an indicator that we’ll be seeing more Uber and Lyft appearances in movies and TV shows. In last season’s HBO series Insecure the main character becomes a Lyft driver and several scenes are with passengers, driving around.
“Eventually it won’t even be a big deal that the main character is an Uber driver,” Campbell said.