Taxi

  • Film
  • Action and adventure
Incredible as it may seem, this staggeringly inept Hollywood remake is even more stupid than the Gallic original: a star vehicle with no stars, it’s also a buddy comedy without buddies, or comedy. Scalping is too good for deluded ‘Barbershop’ director Tim Story, who claims the chemistry-free collision between Queen Latifah’s rookie New York cabby and ex-‘Saturday Night Live’ comedian Jimmy Fallon’s crash-prone cop is a gender-bending deconstruction of ‘buddy comedy’ conventions.

Belle (Latifah) drives a souped-up taxi and dreams of becoming a racing driver. Instead, she ends up playing chauffeur to disgraced cop Andy Washburn (Fallon), who drives like a man in need of a white stick. Together they chase the gorgeous gang of BMW-driving bank robbers led by leggy Brazilian überbabe Vanessa (supermodel Gisele Bündchen). Handily, Belle speaks the thieves’ lingo, because – wait for it – she used to deliver for a Portuguese takeaway. Convinced? You won’t be.

The Luc Besson-scripted original mixed exciting, expertly staged car chases with perfunctory characterisation and dialogue, the former compensating in part for the latter. This remake doesn’t even manage that: the obvious use of blue screen undercuts any sense of jeopardy or excitement, since we never believe Belle and Washburn are actually in a moving vehicle.

Despite scene-stealing supporting roles in ‘Living Out Loud’ and ‘Chicago’, the multi-talented Latifah falls flat on her beautiful face; the charisma-free Fallon may regret leaving ‘SNL’; and Ann-Margret’s cameo as Fallon’s Margarita-muddled mother is both sad and embarrassing. In one pitifully unfunny scene, Latifah and Fallon accidentally inhale laughing gas. It would take a tankerload of laughing gas to pump some humour into this flat-tyred fiasco.

Release details

Rated: 12A
Release date: Friday November 19 2004
Duration: 97 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Tim Story
Screenwriter: Robert Ben Garant, Thomas Lennon, Jim Kouf
Cast: Queen Latifah
Jimmy Fallon
Henry Simmons
Jennifer Esposito
Gisele Bundchen
Ann-Margret
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