When actors have a dynamic on-screen chemistry, there is potential to make a truly amazing and timeless film. “Taxi” starring Jimmy Fallon and Queen Latifah definitely has the chemistry. It may not be amazing or remotely timeless, but it is definitely an hour and 47 minutes well spent.
“Taxi” is the story of Washburn -played by Fallon- a New York City police officer that is bumbling, overzealous and at times just plain obnoxious. After he completely ruins a stakeout and crashes a car into a store, Washburn is demoted and has his license revoked. Being a police officer without a driver’s license sets the stage for many of the hijinks that follow.
On his first day back on the beat, Washburn must chase down a gang of gorgeous bank robbers led by model Gisele Bundchen. To follow the thieves, he jumps into a taxi driven by Belle -played by Latifah-and gets more than he bargained for.
Belle, a former bike messenger with aspirations of being a racecar driver, and Washburn spend the rest of the film in hot pursuit of the robbers and trying to survive each other.
While the setup leaves much room for comedic genius, too much of the movie relies on silly predictable setups. Much of this can be attributed to attempts on the playing-up of Fallon’s proven strengths.
This is Fallon’s first post-Saturday Night Live movie role, but he has not let go of all of his SNL ways. Unfortunately, all of the antics that works on SNL do not translate to major or even minor laughs on the big screen.
The moments of glory for Fallon and “Taxi” are those when the comedy works, really works. When he turns a Daewoo into a virtual tennis ball bouncing back and forth between two cars and sings Natalie Cole to calm his nerves, the laughs really start rolling.
Although the movie is clearly a comedy, the scenes that have Belle and Washburn barreling through heavy New York City traffic attempting to catch the robbers are more than a little impressive. “Taxi” never loses sight of the fact that it is a comedy and interjects chuckle-worthy moments throughout the chase sequences.
It’s almost worth a trip to New York.
Contact Jason E. Hutchins at email@example.com.