Stuber is the recipe for a summer buddy-cop film. One guy, usually the cop, is as big as a house with an inclination to break things: rules, orders, villains’ faces. The other guy is typically much smaller and much funnier and kind of goofy — and he’s driving the other guy nuts, even as circumstances force them to partner up and take on some bad people.

Sure, May-December cop buddy flicks were have been a cliche since 48 Hrs to Midnight Run to Rush Hour to Men in Black to Ride Along to Central Intelligence to The Heat to the most recent example, Stuber. But given the summer overflow of big-budget sequels, Disney remakes and comic book reboots, this paean to cop films of the ’80s and ’90s seems like a nostalgic nod to stupidity. And, somehow, most of it works.

It’s hard to overstate how refreshing it is to see a studio movie as silly and self-contained as Michael Dowse’s Stuber. The biggest action scene takes place in a sporting goods store. The Avengers are nowhere to be found. And the hero isn’t fighting to save the planet, just to help pay for the small business he wants to open with his crush (a spinning class geared towards single women called “Spinsters”).

What makes Stuber a fresh approach to a tired genre is that it joins those rare films that are perfectly synced with the American zeitgeist. Just a  You’ve Got Mail came during the AOL boom and The Social Network hit shortly after Facebook became omnipresent, Stuber will likely go down as the first big-studio film to take on ride-sharing services. It won’t stomp the competition at the multiplex, but Stuber hits all the topical notes for young viewers: overprotective parents, the crippling addiction to cellphones and the roulette wheel roll that is calling a rideshare service.

Much of the comedy credit here goes to Kumail Nanjiani (the HBO series Silicon ValleyThe Big Sick). Nanjiani’s deadpan expression to people getting rowdy, drunk and nauseous in the back of his leased electric car could likely carry its own film. But that wouldn’t make for a buddy cop flick, so Dowse cannily casts Dave Bautista as Vic (Guardians of the Galaxy) a cop colossus with anger issues, severe myopia and a temper that sends him through walls like a drunken Kool-Aid Man.

It’s a silly pairing, but silly is the point. This movie, after all, is called Stuber because the protagonist is named Stu and he drives for Uber. Get it? Subtle intelligence takes a pronounced backseat to mindless escapism.

Stuber stumbles when it actually tries to break from comedy cliches with some adult-level violence. As the pair close in on drug dealers Vic is chasing, Stu has to face off against the martial arts actor Iko Uwais (from The Raid). Even for a comedy this goofy, it’s a plot stretch. Not only does the film skewer the tropes of Hollywood cop films, but it also embraces more than a few.

But they aren’t fatal flaws, and the pairing of Nanjiani and Bautista is inspired, particularly Bautista. He may be built like a Mack truck, but he displays enough tenderness he may escape Hollywood’s villain circuit.

Stuber is intentionally dumb and a little bit clunky, but Nanjiani and Bautista click, the action sequences are well-filmed and the humor is sometimes brutally funny. In a summer of repetitious travels, Stuber makes for a refreshing escapist ride.