When you think about it, Uber— the alternative to taxis made famous as a convenient alternative to taxis that somehow manages to survive even its reputation of sexual assault is basically part of its brand— is the ultimate, perfect setup for a movie. It’s a new enough service that it sells as edgy, with strangers being brought together with basically nonexistent screening or oversight, trapped in an insulated, small location, trusting each other not to turn out to be psychopaths. And even all the real-world stories of people who have broken that pact don’t seem to stop this from being an undeniably easy setup for a movie. While season two of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt had a whole Uber-based plotline (which was fantastically executed), it seems like such an obvious pitch that I’m surprised we’re only now getting news of an Uber movie in development. Although that does make sense then, why there were actually TWO Uber-based movies announced at the same time. That’s a bandwagon that was sure to fill up fast.
The first movie is untitled and doesn’t have a script yet, but stars Will Ferrell as “an Uber driver stuck with a deranged escaped-convict passenger (naturally).” Universal reportedly paid seven figures for that movie which was definitely pitched by a college intern, right? The obvious premise, though, will hopefully be enhanced by the team behind it. Adam McKay (The Big Short, Anchorman) is co-producing with Ferrell, and Brendan O’Brien (Neighbors) is writing the script.
The second movie is called Stuber, and doesn’t have anyone attached except for generic broadstrokes comedy masters Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daly (Vacation, Horrible Bosses, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone) as producers. This movie “takes place over one harrowing night in the life of an Uber driver who picks up a grizzled cop working the most dangerous case of his career.” Fox payed “mid-six figures” for Stuber the day after Universal bought the Will Ferrell movie, and apparently neither was aware of the other project.
Does it sound like either could be decent? It’s always so funny when two movies about the same subject come out at the same time. One of them has to suck. Which of these sounds like it will be it’s Dante’s Peak to the other’s Volcano? The one mall cop movie to that other mall cop movie? The Ed TV to the other’s Truman Show?