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Taxi (12A)



Review by: Jack Foley | Rating: One

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Director's commentary. Branching footage. Deleted scenes x 4. Making of featurette - The Meter's Runnin'. Lights, Camera, Blue Screen. Tour Guide: Jimmy Fallon. Reel Comedy: Taxi (Comedy Central Special). Beautiful Criminals (music montage). Inside Look - Rebound.

FROM its opening shot of a lone bicycle courier travelling at high speed through the streets, underpasses and parks of New York, it seems as though Taxi might just be a zesty, carefree, even fun little caper comedy.

As soon as said biker takes off her helmet to reveal Queen Latifah, however, the film pretty much stalls beyond repair.

Tim Story's remake of Luc Besson's superior French crime comedy is a particularly flat affair which becomes increasingly more annoying the longer it continues. Even the out-takes fail to generate any laughs!

The premise - as such - relies on the tired mis-matched buddies formula, with Latifah starring as a recently-recruited yellow cab driver, whose customised vehicle enables her to get anywhere her clients wish on time.

When she is forced to assist Jimmy Fallon's bumbling cop, however, she finds her car subsequently impounded and Fallon on her case, as the two try and thwart a series of bank robberies being conducted by Giselle and her supermodel buddies.

And while the set-up sounds as though it could be fun, and the film follows pretty much the same format as Besson's sleeker original, it consistently raises groans instead of laughter and feels hopelessly mis-cast to boot.

Fallon, especially, makes for an excruciatingly annoying lead character, consistently proving himself to be as inept a comedian as he is a cop.

Everything about his character grates, from his inability to drive a car properly, to his relentlessly dull goading of suspects and superiors.

His chemistry with the feisty Latifah is virtually non-existent, rendering her peformance just as annoying in the process, and reducing the film to a series of overly repetitive bickering sequences between the two of them.

Giselle, at least, provides some eye-candy, but a scene in which she conducts an intimate body search of Jennifer Esposito's cop (the superior and former love-interest of Fallon) pretty much eptiomises the exploitative and, frankly, shallow nature of proceedings.

Had the chase sequences been something special, the rest of the movie's failings might not appear so glaring, but Story also fails to inject any excitement into any of the heist sequences, while too many of the chases feeling effects dominated or pedestrian.

Hence, anyone who risks picking up the fare on this one is likely to be screaming for a refund given the mis-directed route it follows. This particular Taxi has all the finesse of a Reliant Robin.

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