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Taxi
2004 - PG-13 - 97 Mins.
Director: Tim Story
Producer: Luc Besson
Written By: Jim Kouf, Robert Ben Garant, Thomas Lennon, Luc Besson
Starring: Queen Latifah, Jimmy Fallon, Gisele Bundchen, Jennifer Esposito
Review by: Joe Rickey
Official Site: www.taximovie.com
   

As Queen Latifah might say
Officer Washburn (Jimmy Fallon) is a bumbling, stumbling dolt of an example of those entrusted to protect and serve. His driving skills are so poor, one wonders how he ever passed his license exam in the first place. His situation reaches rock-bottom when a rather unfortunate automobile accident costs him his license, wrecks a case he was working on, and instigates much in the way of ridicule from his fellow officers. When he happens upon a bank robbery in progress he commandeers the cab of Belle (Queen Latifah), a former bike messenger armed with an especially souped-up cab. This chance encounter eventually leads the two mismatched personas to team up in order to hunt down and apprehend a gang of thieves who just so happen to look like a bunch of supermodels playing dress-up.

A film that equates manic energy and constant wisecracks with humor, ‘Taxi’ misses its mark and instead of resembling the ride of anyone’s life it feels like an hour and a half at a comedy club during amateur hour combined with the worst portions of ‘The Fast and the Furious.’

First and foremost, the film feels like recycled bits of better films cobbled together from a trash heap. A lack of originality is perhaps too much to ask in this day and age of sequels after sequels, but this film goes to absurd lengths in its questionable quest to be unoriginal. Granted, the film is a remake of a French actioner from Luc Besson (who, inexplicably, produced this mess), but I’m willing to bet that this concoction bears little to resemblance to his creation aside from sharing the same title. Aside from a few chuckle-inducing one liners and an uncomfortably humorous exchange between Gisele Bundchen (as one of the thieves) and Jennifer Esposito as a lieutenant, the film just isn’t funny in the least. It seems that Hollywood still fails to adhere to the old adage, “familiarity breeds contempt.”

Not that any of the actors bother trying to rise above the material. In his first lead role in a feature film, Jimmy Fallon’s performance here is a red flag explanation as to just why that is. He is a key portion of the film that seems to think that acting like he’s hyped-up on Red Bull and No-Doz is the pinnacle of comedy in the 21st century. He is constantly fidgeting or doing an act that, at times, eerily resembles that of fellow “Saturday Night Live” alum Chris Kattan - definitely not a good thing. If his performance in this film is indicative of his hopes for a career after television, Jimmy Fallon may want to consider begging for his post at SNL right now because he seems to be heading down a road to nowhere.

As his wisecracking semi-partner, Queen Latifah doesn’t fare any better as she gives her second straight obnoxious performance after the abysmal ‘The Cookout’ just last month. She is obnoxiously over the top at times and at other times it appears she is bored out of her mind, slumming through what she probably knew was terrible material.

In fact, “slumming” is an adjective that could be used to describe this entire production. Not even director Tim Story bothers to get interested in filming the material, no doubt biding his time until ‘The Fantastic Four.’ You’d be better off taking the bus than hitching a ride in this ‘Taxi.’
 
Movie Guru Rating
Bland, boring, inept. Forgettable. Bland, boring, inept. Forgettable.
  1.5 out of 5 stars

 
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