"Crazy and stupid's my style," says Jimmy Fallon in Taxi. We don't disagree.
The Saturday Night Live 'comedian' plays a disgraced cop who teams up with
Queen Latifah's taxi driver to foil a gang of bank-robbing hotties (led by
supermodel Gisele Bündchen). It could be the most irritating performance of
all time: all whine and "look-at-me!" mugging. The charisma of his co-star
can't save the movie and the script doesn't help either.
Taxi opens with a storming stunt sequence, as a BMX-riding courier powers
around New York, zipping through subway stations and shops, bouncing off
lorries and doing outrageous jumps. Then, in the most obvious stunt double
transition since Anthony Hopkins' leap from athletic Latino to portly
Welshman in The Mask Of Zorro, the rider is revealed to be Latifah, setting a new cross-town record in her last day on the job.
She's leaving to drive a yellow cab which her own customisation has lent the power of a racing car. Fallon - disqualified from driving after one cock-up too many - hails her cab to take him to a 911 call. Soon they're in a revved-up race with Gisele's rubber-burning leggy blonde. It's the first of several such scrapes, each as loud, dull and relentless as Fallon's performance, although you
always have the hope that the cars, at least, can crash.
"CYNICAL, TIRED FILMMAKING"
Latifah is as likeable as ever, but while her character's gender has changed from the French actioner Taxi is based on, few other attitudes have (see the exploitative, embarrassing scene where Giselle conducts an intimate body search of Jennifer Esposito's cop). What's been lost is a sense of fun. This is a cynical, tired example of filmmaking. Plenty of noise. Little va-va-voom.