Bumpy Ride for Latifah and Fallon
I've never seen Luc Besson's movie "Taxi", despite this there is no way that it can be as bad as the Hollywood version starring Jimmy Fallon and Queen Latifah. I hate to use the term woeful to describe a movie but it is the first word which springs to mind when thinking about "Taxi" a completely misplaced movie, a comedy which is not funny and so forced that it hurts. What went wrong, well it's probably best to say what didn't go wrong and that is basically the set piece action, the brilliant opening bicycle messenger scene and a couple of car stunts as to be honest everything else is bad.
After working as a bicycle messenger Belle Williams (Queen Latifah - Talking to Heaven) has finally qualified as a Taxi driver and in her pimped up cab is one of the fastest in New York. But she finds herself aiding the police when bungling detective Andy Washburn (Jimmy Fallon - The Perfect Catch) commandeers her and her taxi to chase a group of bank robbers. Already in trouble with his superiors back at the precinct for his inability to drive this latest stunt gets both Andy and Belle in more trouble. But desperate to prove that he isn't totally inept Andy talks Belle into helping him and together they set about cracking the bank robber case which leads them to a gang of beautiful Brazilian bank robbers, led by Vanessa (Gisele B├╝ndchen).
So "Taxi" in classic movie style is about a bumbling cop who keeps on getting things wrong but inevitably ends up coming good. It's not a new concept, think inspector Cloussea, and you know the sort of thing we are talking about. So after a set up where we are not only introduced to the accident prone Andy Washburn as he crashes a car and destroys a building but also newly licensed taxi driver Belle Williams, "Taxi" then throws at us the routine crime story. That routine crime story revolves around a series of bank jobs expertly pulled off by a group of sexy Brazilian women, played by various models, and so we have Andy trying to come good by solving the crime and relying on make shift partner Belle as he is incapable of driving a car without causing mass destruction. Of course solving the crime isn't straight forwards as Andy and Belle have one mishap after another and end up getting in more and more trouble. None of which is overly original as pretty much everything we watch in "Taxi" has done before.
The trouble is that "Taxi" tries to be an outrageously funny comedy not just through Andy being inept but also through Belle's pimped up Taxi, love of speed and feisty attitude. Except none of it is funny and all of it seems so forced as Jimmy Fallon fires off set piece gags which are delivered in such an over the top way it lacks any humour. And Queen Latifah fares little better with her gags being just as unfunny. It ends up simply painful because almost every single joke ends up coming across as forced and being forced has the knock on effect of making "Taxi" unfunny.
Combine the storyline lacking with originality with the forced humour is not a good start and the performances don't help any either. Jimmy Fallon who is a funny guy just seems to be throwing himself at everything making it all so over the top, especially his ineptness. I am sure it's meant to be over the top but it goes too far and rather than Fallon creating a funny character ends up creating an annoying one. Queen Latifah fairs little better as she tries to grab screen time from Fallon who appears to be hogging the limelight and what we get from Latifah is basically a character with attitude which at least is a little amusing, occasionally. As for the bad guys, the Brazilians well it's a case of models looking sexy, striking a pose and that's it.
All of this combined makes "Taxi" a bad movie and if it wasn't for a couple of scenes it would be truly terrible. Those scenes include the opening as we watch a bicycle messenger speeding through New York, jumping off bridges and cycling through shops to get back to base and beat the stopwatch. The payoff to this is totally daft but the action of it is good. And it is the action of various car chases and smashes which also stand out as being good despite none of it being original.
What this all boils down to is that "Taxi" sadly is not a good movie and gets very close to being a terrible one. It's meant to be a comedy built around the unlikely partnership of an inept cop and a taxi driver with attitude but it's both so forced and unoriginal that it is rarely funny. And if it wasn't for a couple of semi-decent action scenes "Taxi" would have been terrible.