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Overall Rating

Awesome: 10.2%
Worth A Look: 2.04%
Average: 16.33%
Pretty Bad: 26.53%
Total Crap44.9%

3 reviews, 31 user ratings

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Taxi (2004)
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Queen Latifah makes it bearable."
3 stars

'Bringing Down the House' notwithstanding, Queen Latifah is usually fun to watch. Fun-loving but no-nonsense, she has a way of seeming like the sanest presence onscreen -- she's up there reacting to the movie along with us.

She drifts through Taxi more or less unscathed, rubbing her familiar persona up against that of Jimmy Fallon, who specializes, here as on Saturday Night Live, in boyish naÔvete. As the inept New York detective Washburn, who can't drive a car without disaster, Fallon manages some mild amusement -- I enjoyed the way he handles what's left of his badge after someone has taken a blowtorch to it. He and Latifah fall into a predictable dynamic -- he does something stupid, she rolls her eyes and delivers some variation on "Crazy-ass white people."

Latifah's character -- Belle, a cabbie with a cartoonishly souped-up car -- at one point diagnoses Washburn's problem: "You try too hard." The same can't be said of Taxi, a laid-back, inoffensive time-waster that doesn't even try to make Gisele BŁndchen look like a guy. BŁndchen, the Brazilian supermodel, plays Vanessa, a Brazilian supermodel type who leads three other lookers on various bank robberies, disguising herself with a mustache. At least the first Charlie's Angels came up with some unnervingly male make-up for Cameron Diaz and Drew Barrymore in their crossdressing scene, but never mind. The movie has a touching faith in mustaches as an all-purpose disguise; Washburn also wears one when going undercover as a Cuban thief. Surprisingly, Queen Latifah doesn't get one.

Taxi is a remake of a French action-comedy smash hit (it has spawned two sequels) written by Luc Besson (The Professional), who gets a producing credit here. Fans of the original have cried "Sacrilege!", as if this were a remake of Last Year at Marienbad starring Adam Sandler and Missy Elliott, but I daresay the French film is too high-concept to be considered violable by Hollywood. (Hell, I preferred the American remake Point of No Return to Besson's own La Femme Nikita.) As directed by Tim Story (Fantastic Four), this Taxi is fast and amiable idiocy, never stopping long enough for us to dwell on such questions as how Jennifer Esposito could possibly be a New York City police lieutenant or how Ann-Margret, as Washburn's mom, stays upright after her fourth or fifth margarita.

One thing struck me as odd: Despite what you've seen in the trailers -- Queen Latifah blowing a kiss at Gisele BŁndchen and delivering an impressed "Damn!" when the supermodel thieves disrobe -- her character is steadfastly hetero, with a neglected boyfriend (Henry Simmons) who shuffles around the movie's margins waiting for her to show up. Why would the trailer set Belle up as a lesbian when nothing could be further from the movie's reality? (In the movie, her "Damn!" is in response to the villains' speedy work behind the wheel.) In any event, admirers of Sapphic subtexts won't totally be let down, as there's a gratuitous scene where BŁndchen frisks Esposito while a bunch of cops' jaws hit the pavement.

Taxi is a standard buddy movie right down to the floor, in which the two temperamentally opposed protagonists learn to respect each other grudgingly, though without the romantic/sexual tension you might expect of a male/female team-up. It's a summer movie unaccountably marooned in October, when we're supposed to start getting more adult fare. If you want a more substantive film concerning four female robbers and starring Queen Latifah, now's the time for me to point you towards 1996's Set It Off; if you want a funnier film involving a "Weekend Update" anchor, go rent Tina Fey's Mean Girls; if you want this same material probably done with more panache, you could do worse than the original French Taxi, if your DVD player can handle discs from other countries.

Failing all that, you can always watch this 'Taxi' next time it turns up on cable.

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originally posted: 01/11/07 13:52:55
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User Comments

11/05/15 David Hollingsworth Unfunny and total crap 1 stars
2/27/13 David Hollingsworth Total waste of Fallon & Latifah's talent 2 stars
1/09/09 Shaun Wallner Very Boring! 1 stars
4/28/07 David Pollastrini PRETTY DUMB 1 stars
4/03/06 JRE latifah and fallon together??? not funny and don't take your kids-lezbo scene 2 stars
1/10/06 JM Synth Two of the most obnoxious "comeidans" in Hollywood team up for one of its most vacant films 1 stars
10/10/05 Agent Sands Only scene I liked was the gratuitous Jennifer Esposito frisking scene that made no sense. 2 stars
9/21/05 Jonathon Holmes fucking my girlfriend would be more time-consuming than this turd 1 stars
7/14/05 Brandy Harrington Why is Jimmy Fallon famous? 1 stars
4/16/05 Carol Conway It was a bit much with the supermodels 2 stars
4/04/05 Charlie Unclear plot line, good cast though. 3 stars
3/15/05 Dyanne Parnel Funny movie, excellent chemistry between actors. Hilarious 5 stars
3/10/05 annisa it was good shit i like it alot and the cars were awsome 5 stars
2/24/05 tatum Fallon decides to model his career after Joe Piscopo 1 stars
12/19/04 Monster W. Kung No wonder it sucked, since the original was crap as well. 1 stars
11/11/04 Archanist_101 One of the most souless pieces of entertianment I've ever witnessed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1 stars
11/11/04 Matty Moses This movie is soooo crap they shouldnt even make the DVD 1 stars
11/07/04 MAC Funny movie! Silly enjoyable fun. Fallon's hilarious. 5 stars
11/05/04 Nicole Latifah and Fallon had alright acting but the plot SUCKED!! 2 stars
11/03/04 Kurniawan nice movie yet not perfect.Another so called Taxi movie,but i like tha france's TAXI movies 5 stars
10/29/04 Jimmy Jones Today I have a topic I am an expert on: how much Jimmy Fallon sucks. Who decided this guy w 1 stars
10/28/04 Rodrigo VERY COOL !!! 5 stars
10/28/04 Kathleen Kids picked it but I enjoyed it! Funny movie. 4 stars
10/24/04 moviedude wait for network tv debut - better yet, don't see it at all 2 stars
10/22/04 Daniel this shit needs to end hollywood, quit making shitty ass movies like this- fallon sucks 1 stars
10/19/04 black psycho dwarf wazzup w/ the race-baiting in here? chill, it's just a movie. 3 stars
10/16/04 Betsy Latifah - racist, no acting talent, 1 1/2 hours of my life gone forever 1 stars
10/11/04 Robert Garant & Thomas Lennon How could we be so goddamn funny on RENO 911 and yet write THIS shit??? 1 stars
10/09/04 Jin Painful. 1 stars
10/06/04 Betsy Dreck 1 stars
10/02/04 Ray Driver, to the movie next door. 2 stars
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  06-Oct-2004 (PG-13)
  DVD: 15-Feb-2005



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