The last time American studios remade a French movie, Les Visiteurs turned into Just Visiting.  Taxi is a remake of Luc Besson's French movie of the same name.  The French Taxi was so popular that there are two sequels.  It's hard to see anything coming out of the American version.  Taxi is the latest, lame attempt at a mismatched partner crime comedy.  The hip partner this time is a woman, and not even a law enforcement officer.  This remake is especially dubious for its two stars, Queen Latifah and Jimmy Fallon.  Latifah, who now can add "Oscar Nominated Actress" to her name, needs to show that her role in Chicago was no fluke.  So far (The Cookout, Barbershop 2), she hasn't done so.  Fallon (Anything Else, Almost Famous), like all Saturday Night Live cast members, quit the show in order to pursue bigger and better things in movies.  If this is what he offers, he should do something else.

The entire plot sounds like an SNL skit gone awry.  Robert Ben Garant (I'm Your Man), Thomas Lennon (Le Divorce, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days), and Jim Kouf (Snow Dogs, Rush Hour) feels like it was pieced together from random small ideas, most of them bad.  Separately, they may cause a few chuckles, but strung all together it forms a large incoherent mess.  Fallon is Washburn, a cop who cannot drive.  In the beginning of Taxi, he wrecks his third car, prompting his superior Lt. Robbins (Gina Esposito, Breakin' All the Rules, The Master of Disguise) to take away his license.  He ends up taking Belle's (Latifah) taxi to a robbery, which infuriates Robbins even more. Belle has been waiting years to get her taxi license, and is pissed that the police impounded her car as evidence.  Washburn agrees to get her the taxi if she helps him solve the case.  He feels that he can redeem himself in the eyes of the department.

The robbery was by a bunch of hot Brazilian chicks.  Gisele Bundchen, Ana Cristina de Oliveria (Molly), Ingrid Vandebosch (Going Greek), and Magali Amadei (What Boys Like, The Wedding Planner) are little more than eye candy for the audience to stare at.  The fact that they are all really hot has the barest justification in the script, but is most likely there more to give people a reason to keep watching the film and not fall asleep.  A completely gratuitous frisking of Esposito by Bundchen occurs later in the film.  Director Tim Story (Barbershop, The Firing Squad) just goes through the motions as Belle and Washburn try to bungle their way through the case.  The only reason they succeed is that they know the robbers are women, and Belle has an encyclopedic knowledge of cars.

A movie like this relies on the chemistry and comedy between its two leads.  There is none here.  The script gives no personality to either Washburn or Belle, aside from the fact that Washburn cannot drive and Belle likes cars.  Fallon doesn't seem ready for the leading man role. He does not have the charisma or presence of some of his fellow SNL alums, even the more recent ones.  And his character is really annoying.  He whines a lot, lives next door to his mother, and seems like he's in some alternate universe most of the time.  Taxi skids to a halt often, because there is nothing in the downtime between car chases.  The humor is not funny.  The car chases are decent, but nothing special.  So the only thing left is Bundchen, Cristina de Oliveria, Vandebosch, and Amadei.
Haro Rates It: Pretty Bad.
1 hour, 40 minutes, Rated PG-13 for language, sensuality, and brief violence.

Back to Movies