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   Movie Reviews: Taxi
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by
Samantha Ofole-Prince

Studio:
     20th Century Fox
Plot:
     An unlikely pair aims to track down quartet of female bank robbers
Cast:
     Queen Latifah, Jimmy Fallon, Jennifer Esposito, Henry Simmons, Giselle Bundchen and Ann-Margret
Rating:
     PG-13
Bottom Line:
     ****

Coverage:

Taxi is a hilarious flick which stars Belle (Queen Latifah) as a dare-devil bike messenger who pairs up with the fumbling cop Andy Washburn (Jimmy Fallon) to track down a bunch of sexy Brazilian female bank robbers.

With superb onscreen chemistry between Fallon and Latifah, it is the unlikely paring of the two that makes this movie ensure plenty of giggles. It opens with an incredibly thrilling bicycle ride as Belle – despite receiving over fifty speeding citation, aims to beat her ten minute delivery track record in a final journey back to the base. After spending five years modifying her own vehicle (Crown Victoria), she is now ready to embark on the road as a New York City cab driver - the final step towards her dream of becoming a NASCAR driver. Washburn is the hapless ‘loser’ who can’t seem get it right. He ruins his first car chase killing an undercover Detective’s parrot and letting the bank robbers get away in the process – he can’t help it, he’s simply too scared to drive. Relegated to desk duty and his license revoked he stumbles on another bank robbery, and in hopes of redeeming himself to his boss, he orders a disgruntled Belle to chase the getaway car. After yet another disastrous chase, he is finally thrown off the case and Belle’s taxi cab is impounded as evidence by the FBI. Thus, they begin the arduous task of tracking down the robbers in the effort to close the case and get back her supercharged taxi cab. NYPD’s Henry Simmons is Belle’s supporting boyfriend whilst Jennifer Esposito is appealing as Washburn’s exasperated police lieutenant - a requirement in most cop flicks, and a pleasant change from the usual gruff male lieutenants. Ann-Margret as Washburn’s mother is a cheerful, eccentric alcoholic who delights in making margaritas for her guests, and upon meeting Belle refers affably to their relationship as a ‘jungle fever’ match. Supermodel Gisele in her debut movie role also doesn’t do too badly – although she barely utters more than five lines, but nonetheless is decent eye candy along with her crew of leggy bank robbers.

Taxi offers great comic timing and spontaneous quirky exchanges and lines such as Washburn’s justification that everyone has a weakness, "Superman has kryptonite, Indiana Jones has snakes and Whitney Houston has Bobby Brown." With slick car chases (through streets eerily similar to downtown Los Angeles), fancy stunts and personable characters, Taxi fares extremely well and is surprisingly funny. The characters have a great contrast and compliment each other. Both Latifah and Fallon make that perfect onscreen match as Latifah brings onboard her usual warmth and feistiness and Fallon adds that extra touch of unscripted humor.

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