Queen Latifah as Belle
Jimmy Fallon as Washburn
Henry Simmons as Jesse
Jennifer Esposito as Lt. Marta Robbins
Gisele Bündchen as Vanessa
Ana Cristina De Oliveira as Redhead
Ingrid Vandebosch as Third Robber
Magali Amadei as Fourth Robber
Ann-Margret as Washburn’s Mom
Christian Kane as Agent Mullins
Boris McGiver as Franklin
Adrian Martinez as Brasilian man
Joe Lisi as Mr. Scalia
Bryna Weiss as Mrs. Scalia
The highest praise I can give this movie is that Jimmy Fallon did not destroy it completely. Fallon plays bumbling police detective Washburn, who, through plenty of fault of his own, is stripped of his drivers license and forced to walk the streets of New York.
A necessity to suspend disbelief is a must if you see Taxi, starting with the opening credits. There is an incredible bike journey across New York (probably the best scene in the entire film) which ends with the rider taking off her helmet. Through the miracle of Hollywood, the fit and muscular rider turns into Queen Latifah who is obviously much larger than the person we just saw. That can be forgiven though, since Queen Latifah is the next best thing in the movie.
Queen Latifah is Belle, a bike messenger and NASCAR fan who is giving up her two wheels after a long wait for a New York City cab license. Belle drives a personally modified supped-up Crown Victoria that could get a supporting role in the next Transformers movie. Her need for speed and ability to get across New York by any means possible is only rivaled by Vanessa (supermodel attempting to turn actress Gisele Bundchen). If, by some act of God, the movie is successful, I hope they focus on the rivalry between Belle and Vanessa and drop Jimmy Falon entirely.
To be perfectly fair, the comedy of Jimmy Fallon just might not work for me. He seems to be a modern day Jerry Lewis wannabe, without the facial expressionism, and I am not a big Jerry Lewis fan. Who knows, the movie might do well in France. It is, loosely, a remake of a French film by the same name.
Technically, the movie has some holes also. The blue-screening that is done while Fallon and Latifah are riding around together is as cheap as it gets. Some of the stunts are so obviously computer generated that they might as well have stamped them with the Apple logo. Unusual in a film that stars a former rapper and a cast member of SNL, the score is actually low key and doesn’t attempt to override the movie and fits in fairly well.
Who should see this movie? There are a lot of funny moments in it, and if the perky but dead (hard to do but Fallon seems to have succeeded) delivery of Fallon makes you laugh, you will have a few more. There is a lot of action, just not done very well. If you just want to go to look at the pretty models, they are only in the film for a few short scenes. Needless to say, if you want to think or be challenged by a movie, you shouldn’t have even gotten to the bottom of this review much less into the theater. Overall, this is not the worst movie ever made by a former member of SNL, but that is not saying much. If you go in with low expectations, it could make a decent matinee, and you will get the privilege of being able to laugh at it in an informed way.