Okay, time to open a blender and pour in films like Taxi, Collateral Damage, Ride Along, and even bits of Deadpool where some crazy person or an officer commandeers a taxi or vehicle for some outrageous adventure. But nowadays we have Uber’s and Lyft’s, so a movie naturally has to include them, right?
This film is perfect storm of laziness and generic writing coupled with unfunny humor and terrible direction. There, I pretty much gave you the entire review in a nutshell, but since I have do a FULL review, here’s the rest. In the heart of Los Angeles during a heat wave we find stoic and stone-faced police detective Vic Manning (Dave Bautista) going through some hard times. His estranged daughter (Natalie Morales) wants him to come to her art opening, the drug lord that killed his partner is back in town, and the Lasik surgery he just got means he can’t see good yet.
Meanwhile, a milquetoast sporting goods salesman named Stu (Kamail Nanjiani) is also an Uber driver who needs the extra cash to help his wanna-be girlfriend, Becca (Betty Gilpin), to open a spin-class business. But just as Stu is about to finally make it with Becca, wouldn’t ya know it? Vic comes bounding into his Uber cab because he can’t see well enough to drive (or anything else, for that matter)–that darn Lasik surgery, remember? But Vic’s got a hot tip that notorious bad guy Oka Tiejo (Iko Uwais) is about to make a huge score and Vic wants his revenge!
Naturally, sourpuss and half-blind Vic clashes with nice-guy and nervous little Stu as they drive all over town gathering intel on Oka’s whereabouts, much to the chagrin of Stu, who doesn’t like Vic’s gruff demeanor. Eventually, the two find Oka and (shocker!) Vic finds out his own police captain (Mira Sorvino) is a dirty cop who has been working with Oka! Yeah, like you didn’t see THAT one coming! The bad guys are defeated, Vic and Stu become friends, yadda yadda yadda.
This formulaic, by-the-numbers, and boring screenplay was written by Tripper Clancy, who had only written two other movies in another country; this is his first American movie. Yikes! Looks like he pulled every cliche from every movie ever made and tossed them into the film salad here, making this such a bad movie that its script was only as bad as the poor direction. That ‘honor’ goes to newbie Michael Dowse. Dowse has only done unknown TV shows like Man Seeking Woman and The Foundation. One thing is for sure, he can’t shoot a fight scene to save his life and his camerawork is sloppy, amateurish, and he needs a lesson in how to shoot in cars!!
Bautista, who has made a name for himself in the MCU, does NOT advance his career with this schlock. His delivery is flat and monotone and he clearly looks like he hated being in this movie. Nanjiani, trying to get mileage by doing deadpan and irritable, isn’t funny in the least. You want a funny taxi driver? Try Dopinder (Karan Soni) in the Deadpool movies. Now THAT guy’s hilarious! Do yourself a favor and make this movie a hard pass.
No, this isn’t a movie about the terrific TV series that starred those lovable losers like Reverend Jim, Nardo, Louie, Latka Gravas, and Tony. No, this (unfortunately) is about a loser of a police detective that teams up with a taxi driver to solve a case. Sounds like it might be real funny, huh? Well, it’s not. *sigh*
This is tale of two people in NYC (but it was really shot in L.A.). First up is Belle Williams (Queen Latifah), an ace messenger bike rider who, astonishingly enough, is also an incredibly gifted race car driver (fancy that!). Don’t even question how her amazing tricked-out taxi cab can, with the push of a few buttons, can become a super-charged racing machine, like something out of a sci-fi movie. Amazing still, she can zip around downtown Manhattan, defying all traffic lights, people, other cars, logic, perception, psychics, AND the police! Yeah, she’s that good. Her only weakness is Jesse (Henry Simmons), her incredibly handsome long-suffering boyfriend that doesn’t understand her. Sad emoji.
Then there’s Detective Andy Washburn (Jimmy Fallon), a thoroughly lousy cop that manages to screw up everything he does. He can’t drive a car, he messes up his assignments, he’s a joke to his precinct, and even to his ex-girlfriend & boss, Lt. Robbins (Jennifer Esposito), who wants to fire his sorry ass. Busted down to beat cop, Andy meets up with Belle when he gets her to drive him to a bank robbery in her cab. But, surprise! What the hell are the odds that THIS bank robbery is by four totally hot Brazilian super-models that are, besides being crack shots and vicious crooks? Their leader, Vanessa (Gisele Bundchen), is also an ace driver on par with Belle’s phenomenal driving skills. Gee, what a coincidence
Yup, for the duration of the film it’s Andy and Belle tracking down these four Brazilian chicks (or Portuguese… whatever), and constantly bickering at each other. Mostly because Andy is just about the most obnoxious, annoying, inept, and unfunny guy around. The only reason Belle hangs around this nutcase is so she can get her precious Batmobile back when it’s locked up. Of course, these two finally crack the case in the end where the Feds can’t and form a bond, leading to the film’s ridiculous conclusion. The really sad part? Veteran actress Ann-Margaret is in this as Andy’s mother.
Here’s the weird part: this movie was produced by Luc Besson, based on his highly successful French movie Taxi, that spawned FIVE sequels AND a TV series! So how did this remake of his movie do? What do you think? Yeah, it tanked! Robert Ben Garant, Thomas Lennon, and Jim Kouf (all TV script writers, like Reno 911) just rattled off a half-cocked incarnation of the French version for our tastes, even though the direction by Tim Story (the two decent Fantastic Four movies) wasn’t bad. The script was SO unbelievable and riddled with massive plot holes, you couldn’t possibly watch it without tearing it apart. Nothing that happens COULD happen!
Then there’s the actors. Queen Latifah has done much better films (Set It Off, Chicago) and this film does NOT showcase her acting chops in the least. Ann-Margaret, a veteran of the screen who dated Elvis and sang in Vegas, is sadly collecting a paycheck here, and Henry Simmons is just beginning to fire-up his Agents of SHIELD smoulder. Then we have Jimmy Fallon. *sigh* Fallon is a stand-up comedian, but not an actor. This much is evident by his screen appearance where he alternates from trying TOO hard to act to not trying at ALL to act. It’s just embarrassing to watch him at times. Don’t rent this movie, I beg you.