Andy Washburn (Jimmy Fallon) is not exactly the most outstanding cop in the New York Police Department. His terrible driving has just resulted in three escaped suspects, a wrecked squad car, a demolished grocery store and a dead parrot. His captain and former girlfriend (Jennifer Esposito) takes his license and puts him back on the beat so when he gets a call that a bank is being robbed, he has to hail a cab. The one he commandeers belongs to Belle (Queen Latifah), a feisty car enthusiast who's added modifications to her taxi that would make Q jealous. Soon they're in hot pursuit of the robbers, who turn out to be a gang of beautiful Brazilian women led by the ruthless Vanessa (Gisele Bündchen).
Taxi is a spectacularly average movie. You buy your ticket, it passes the time for 90 minutes, it ends, you leave and you forget about it. I can't recommend you go and see it, nor can I make any major criticisms, since the movie hits the easy targets it's aiming for. You want a dumb, generic action comedy? This will do. You want one that's smart and genuinely funny? See Starsky And Hutch. Taxi takes its title and its basic premise from a 1998 French hit produced and written by Luc Besson but despite Besson's involvement in the remake, the script retains none of the original's flavour. It's more like Rush Hour in a cab. Like Alfie, this is pretty much the film you imagined when you heard Hollywood was remaking it.
Underneath all the hip hop attitude, Queen Latifah reminds me a little of Bette Midler, another multi-talented female performer who plays tough women and can be wildly funny in the right role. Latifah needs to find projects like Down And Out In Beverly Hills or Ruthless People if she wants to really shine. Taxi is more like Outrageous Fortune. Her co-star, Jimmy Fallon, is the latest graduate from American sketch show Saturday Night Live and he's not one of the better ones. Fallon looks uncannily like Mike Myers but he acts like Martin Short - he's practically playing the same nerd Short played in Innerspace. While Short was funny however, Fallon is generally annoying. Up and coming director Tim Story, who made Barbershop and has landed the Fantastic Four gig, does an efficient but anonymous job here. He uses the obligatory MTV style but with more mercy than McG and he throws in enough gratuitous shots of Gisele Bündchen's supermodel figure that at least half of the audience will leave having had some sort of thrill.