Full ReviewIn the high-octane, low-wattage buddy comedy "Taxi" (20th Century Fox), Jimmy Fallon plays a bumbling New York City cop who enlists the aid of a sassy cab driver (played by Queen Latifah) to catch a gang of beautiful but deadly female bank robbers.
A revved-up remake of the 1998 French film written by Luc Besson, "Taxi" has a full tank of high-speed car chases, but is running on fumes when it comes to laughs.
The framing is simple: "Saturday Night Live" alum Fallon plays dunce detective Andy Washburn, whose traffic mishaps have made him the laughing stock of his precinct and have landed him in the doghouse of his beleaguered ex-girlfriend-turned-boss, Lt. Marta Robbins (Jennifer Esposito).
As punishment for crashing a car into a bodega during a failed sting operation, Andy has his driver's license revoked and is demoted to walking a beat. While responding to an armed robbery, he jumps into the back seat of a cab driven by Belle Williams (Latifah), a street-savvy speed demon with a souped-up taxi who dreams of being a race car driver.
They arrive at the crime scene just in time to pursue a quartet of scantily clad Brazilian bombshells, whose long-legged leader (played by supermodel Gisele Bundchen) -- in addition to being a crack shot -- shows she can match Belle skid for skid. With his badge on the line, Andy convinces the hell-on-wheels hack to help him nab the crooks.
From here on, "Taxi" shifts gears into a fast and furious game of cat-and-mouse, consisting of little else than a series of pedal-to-the-metal drag races through the streets of Manhattan (with little regard for pedestrians), as tedious as they are over the top. Director Tim Story puts the brakes on the rubber-burning action just long enough for some stale comic pit stops between its odd-couple leads (neither of whom you care much about).
Though wasting her talent on this limp material, Latifah is undeniably in the driver's seat, figuratively and literally. Fallon manically mugs his way through most of the film, rehashing the same tousle-haired goofy shtick he used on "Saturday Night Live." Ann-Margret provides some minor chuckles as Andy's alcoholic mother.
All in all, this is one "Taxi" ride not worth the fare.
Due to recurring vehicular violence, two robberies, a sexually suggestive frisk sequence, crude language and an instance of profanity, the USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 -- parents are strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.
These movies have been evaluated for artistic merit and moral suitability by the media reviewing division of Catholic News Service. The reviews include the CNS rating, the Motion Picture Association of America rating, and a brief synopsis of the movie.
The classifications are as follows:
A-I -- general patronage;
A-II -- adults and adolescents;
A-III -- adults;
L -- limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. L replaces the previous classification, A-IV.
O -- morally offensive.
Note: Some movies previously were designated A-IV. Older films with this classification should be regarded as classified L.