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  • compiled by Jeffrey Overstreet Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2004 1 Jan

from Film Forum, 10/14/04

Jimmy Fallon has left Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update behind for a career that focuses on the silver screen. In Taxi, he makes one thing clear: He needs an agent with some discernment.

Fallon plays an inept New York cop who picks up the trail of some sexy bank robbers. But if he's to follow them down that trail, he needs a ride. So he dives into a taxi that turns his life upside down. The taxi driver, played by the irrepressibly talented Queen Latifah, talks back at him, puts him in his place, and makes any other taxi driver look timid by comparison.

Taxi may be a remake of a French film written by Luc Besson (La Femme Nikita, The Fifth Element, The Professional), but critics agree that it looks and smells exactly like a big, expensive, American failure. Where Besson's film inspired sequels, viewers can hope these filmmakers have their licenses revoked.

David DiCerto (Catholic News Service) says, "Taxi has a full tank of high-speed car chases, but is running on fumes when it comes to laughs. [It becomes] a fast and furious game of cat-and-mouse, consisting of little else than a series of pedal-to-the-metal drag races … as tedious as they are over the top."

"What most teens are going to remember about this movie isn't Latifah's punishing wit," writes Steven Isaac (Plugged In). "It's the scene in which a bombshell bank robber fondles a female cop."

Michael Elliott (Movie Parables) finds something to praise: "Queen Latifah … has what used to be known as 'star power' and it has never served her better. She shines even though everything around her is tarnished beyond salvage." But Fallon "manages to throw the film's tone completely out of balance."

Mainstream critics leave a punishing ticket on Taxi's windshield.