A Film Review By The Mike

Rating:RATED PG-13 for Swearing, Mild Violence, and Cars that go “Vrooooom!”
Starring: Jimmy Fallon, Queen Latifah, Gisele Bundchen
Directed By: Tim Story

Final Grade:

Before I get to reviewing Taxi, I’m going to let you in on one of my little movie going secrets. The fact is, I’m usually pumped up by high-octane, car-chase films (Think The Italian Job).

When I leave the theater after these films, in which cars seem to fly around the screen at super speeds, darting in and out of danger at the drop of a hat, I want to try the tricks they know. So, I usually end up darting through the back exit of the theater parking lot, and by the end of the quarter mile stretch I can usually get my crappy car (transmission notwithstanding) somewhere between 35 and 40 miles per hour! I’m such a rebel.

I didn’t have that feeling after watching Taxi, the latest action comedy to hit the megaplex. Sure, Queen Latifah and Jimmy Fallon chasing hot chicks in a BMW was exciting, but it just didn’t get my blood boiling. Luckily, that’s only because I spent too much time laughing at what is easily the funniest film to come out of Big-Ticket Hollywood this year.

Fallon stars as Andrew Washburn, a NYC Cop with a bit of a driving problem who lives next door to his drunken mother (played hysterically by Ann Margret). After a failed bust kills a colleague’s pet parrot, Washburn is disgraced and demoted. Of course, he next finds himself the closest officer to a bank robbery, so he hops in a souped up cab driven by Belle (Latifah), who’s apparently the best driver to ever live. The supermodels/bankrobbers are good too, so it turns into quite a showdown.

As most critics have noted, this film is ridiculous. But what they don’t see, is the control director Tim Story has over this ridiculousness. Sure, it’s a crazy plot full of one-note jokes and generic plot turns, but they’re good generic plot turns and great one-note jokes. Fallon and Latifah have great chemistry on screen, which makes most of the jokes that much funnier. It seems as if these two are possibly the least likely dynamic duo I’ve seen on screen, and their interactions are awkward enough to fit perfectly into the film as comedy instead of as idiocy.

Story’s direction breaks the film into segments much like it did in his previous film, Barbershop, but the transitions are well placed and easy to look past because, quite simply, the jokes are far too funny to make much else matter. He’s added in some great car chases and a gorgeous group of bankrobbers, which mix with the comedy to make for a fully satisfying film.

It seems to me that a lot of people are taking Taxi more seriously than it should be. Or, maybe I’ve just simply lost my mind. Either way, I find no reason not to fully recommend Taxi as one of the best films of the season, and encourage you to give Fallon, Latifah, and company the benefit of the doubt. If you can go in looking for nothing more than a bunch of belly laughs and a nice diversion from reality you won’t be disappointed.

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