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movie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Taxi

Starring: Queen Latifah, Jimmy Fallon
Director: Tim Story
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 100 Minutes
Release Date: October 2004
Genres: Comedy, Action

*Also starring: Gisele Bundchen, Jennifer Esposito, Lou Torres, John Rothman, Edward Conna, Gelbert Coloma, Henry Simmons, Bryna Weiss, Magali Amadei, Victor Isaac

Reviewer Roundup
1.  Harvey Karten review follows movie review
2.  Dustin Putman read the review movie reviewmovie review

Review by Harvey Karten
1 star out of 4

In an early scene, a police lieutenant (Jennifer Esposito) who looks like no police officer you've ever seen states that Officer Washburn (Jimmy Fallon) is a "good cop." Yet there's not a single move or sentence uttered by Washburn that would give credence to the lieutenant's notion. In fact Lieutenant Robbins must have been high when she said this, since every time she and Washburn are in the same room, you can bet that she'll offer a more scathing review of his work than critics have written about "Showgirls." Not much of the other elements of the movie work either, notwithstanding a good try by Belle (Queen Latifah) to mine humor from behind the wheel in her own taxi or director Tim Story's entire vehicle.

The paper thin plot is designed simply to provide for an abundance of car chases, car crack-ups, one explosion, at least one shot of a vehicle's going so fast that it literally flies over a gap in a bridge–supposedly one that links Brooklyn and Manhattan but who knows? Most of the pic was filmed in L.A. The villains are a quartet of Brazilian women, at least one of whom (Gisele Bundchen) is a real-life supermodel. After Officer Washburn loses his license for the driving in a way that most six-year-old could do better and safer, he commanders a brand new taxi driven by a woman who has finally received her hack license after being a record-breaking bike messenger for a courier service. At each other's throats for a good part of the pic, the two bond as they chase villains, enjoy the company of Washburn's mother (played by Ann-Margret in a role so embarrassing it's tempting to close the eyes and cover the ears), and express diverse opinions of Belle's driving in a cab that seems designed for the next James Bond movie.

For romance, we're told that Washburn and Lt. Robbins once had a thing at police academy but Washburn continues to act so much like the dumbest cop on the force that what he considers to be the remains of sexual tension is judged by Belle to be nothing more than just plain tension. Also Belle has a tall, handsome boyfriend, Jesse (Henry Simmons), who regularly cools his heels at upscale restaurants while waiting for the love of his life to finish her overtimes assignments.

Tim Story, whose "Barbershop" was no candidate for an Oscar but at least had more than two or three inspired moments, depends on stunt action involving Belle's taxi and the Brazilians' Beemer, but after a while, what passes for conversation between Belle and Washburn is as redundant and predictable as the near-vehicular homicides resulting from the chases. Washburn, like the movie, is a washout.

Copyright © 2004 Harvey Karten

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