DVD REVIEW

Taxi

Taxi
There are a lot of the things wrong with Taxi, almost too many to mention. But I’ll try. First, let me just say this.

Boo. Get off the screen. Boooooo. This movie will make small children cry and start clawing their way back into the womb to get away from it. Boo.

Now, let’s tackle the ludicrous amount of boredom, shall we?

The Movie: star rating

When I was in graduate school, I took a social science core course entitled Social, Political, Psychological, and Economic Perspectives. We read a lot of philosophy and other two and three hundred year old texts, threw in some Freud on top of that, and wrote huge papers after each book discussing at length what we thought about what we read for that week’s class. That was more fun than Taxi. If you need proof, waste your time and money, and rent the movie.

What you’ll find is a story line so unbelievable it is beyond the category of absurd comedy. The film is tired and weak, full of cheap jokes and one-liners as well as some really old techniques of film. There is a complete inability to suspend your disbelief on this one. Queen Latifah (you know her voice from the Pizza Hut commercials) is supposed to be a taxi driver that knows all about cars and has done all of the illegal enhancement work on her cab herself (on a bicycle messenger’s salary at that). Likewise, Jimmy Fallon attempts to play a police officer that can’t drive, disguise himself undercover, defend himself, shoot his weapon, or show any kind of manhood whatsoever. Fallon gets his license taken away and therefore takes Latifah’s cab in pursuit of a bank robbery (that would be because there are no other cops in all of New York City that could respond even though they have vehicles). The robbers, of course, are beautiful, skinny, smart, foreign, fast driving, sexy women who like to smile at each other and wear tank tops and bikinis as disguises. And remember, Taxi is also supposed to be funny.

If I could only say one thing I would bring up a lack of a little item called characterization. This movie is full of overdone attempts to break stereotypes while not breaking any and pitiful moves to display role reversal between men and women. You can’t write a movie like a “Saturday Night Live” skit and hope it turns out okay. Those skits are for a little “ha ha” but have no depth, and that works for a three minute piece. But in this case, there is no “ha ha” and you need more depth of character to fill ninety-seven minutes of film.

It also seems pretty obvious that the writers of the screenplay know nothing about real police and/or the laws of this country, otherwise the story would never have gotten started. The whole movie is unnecessary and all the money spent should have gone into making a good picture. Finally, at the end, there’s a pointless exploitation of lesbian-ish groping as a last resort to interest the bored but determined audience that refuses to leave because they sadly paid to be there. It’s as though director Tim Story (warning: also the director of the upcoming Fantastic Fourmovie) realized the film was going nowhere and decided to throw in some boob and butt squeezing. Pathetic. I want to say the only people that would like this film are thirteen year old boys, but I’m afraid that’s probably not true. Even they would feel underestimated as thinking individuals and shouldn’t be force-fed crap just because celebrities, boobs, and skinny bare torsos are drowning in it.

The best part of the movie are the bloopers that run during the end credits, but I don’t know if they are really funny, or if I was just relieved to see the end credits. So why call it Taxi? Why not call it Train Wreck? Why not Trash Truck? Why not Total Waste of Time Mobile? Total Waste of Film Van? Why not call it Giant Tractor Hauling a Ton of Old Manure on a Hot Spring Day? Why? I’ll tell you why. That would have done the masses a favor and driven them away before they invested in this unmistakable mistake that deserves to get pulled off the shelves of every store and burned in the streets.

The Disc: dvd

And the disc? Please. Don’t bother. After sitting through the misery of the movie, I’m obligated to watch the extras. But you aren’t. Be strong. Save yourself. What’s sad is that there’s no way I can really express through a star rating that the extras are actually worse than the movie itself. There are the usual deleted scenes, which aren’t that funny, the director’s commentary (where Story really just talks about the actors and what went over well with the test audience, if that’s possible), and five featurettes.

The featurettes, which I’m guessing means Story and Fox Home Entertainment consider them to be great little companion movies, are titled as follows if anyone cares to know: “The Meter’s Runnin’: Making Taxi”, “Lights, Camera, Blue Screen”, “Tour Guide: Jimmy Fallon”, “Reel Comedy: Taxi”, and “Beautiful Criminals”. The making of really had nothing to do with the making of the film. It’s really an excuse for Fallon to desperately ham it up to the camera at every chance he gets, trying to be funny to an already disappointed audience (‘cause who watches the extras before the movie, am I right?). The one about the blue screen would be okay because you do learn a small, small amount about technique and such, but I thinks it’s safe to say almost everyone in the world gets the concept of the blue screen. We don’t need any help understanding it, and we certainly didn’t need a featurette to tell us they used one during the driving scenes, it was obvious enough.

The “Tour Guide” segment is really an excuse for Fallon to desperately ham it up to the camera every chance he gets, trying to be funny to an already disappointed audience (did you catch the repeat?). The only one that is remotely funny is the “Reel Comedy” bit, but only because the actors are poking fun at Fallon and the movie. “Beautiful Criminals” is nothing but a meaningless compilation of the models driving, undressing, smiling, standing, etc. with music giving the quick shots a beat to change to.

After watching all of this, I’m not worried about obesity in America anymore. Aids in Africa? What’s that? Terrorism? No. I’m concerned that more people aren’t harmed by this film. If this disc gets out into the rest of the world, into places like a Tokyo Blockbuster (if they even have them), there could be horrible results. Go ahead, picture the fire in the streets as millions of copies of Taxi ignite at once. The heat hitting your face, the smell of burning plastic curling up on itself as it blackens. Hear that crackle of flames, the high-pitched squealing as discs buckle and break, and the deep sigh of relief from vindicated DVD buyers everywhere.

Reviewed By: Margaret Williams

Release Details
Length: 97 min
Rated: PG-13
Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Release Date:  2005-02-15
Starring: Queen Latifah, Jimmy Fallon, Gisele Bundchen, Jennifer Esposito, Ann-Margret, Henry Simmons
Directed by: Tim Story
Produced by: Luc Besson
Written by: Robert Ben Garant & Thomas Lennon and Jim Kouf
Visit the Taxi Official Website
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