A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this movie has a very lighthearted, even cavalier attitude toward substance abuse. Washburn's mother is an alcoholic, and this is primarily played for comedy. Washburn and Belle are exposed to nitrous oxide ("laughing gas"), also played for comedy (including a side effect of making their voices deeper, a sort of anti-helium). Parents should make sure that children and teens who see this movie understand that inhaling nitrous oxide for non-medicinal reasons can be dangerous. The movie has a few strong words, including some not usually found in PG-13s, like an anatomical term and the "N" word (heard in a song lyric). The movie has a lot of comedy-style violence, with many car chases and explosions and some shoot-outs. Some characters are injured, but no one is killed or badly hurt. There are some mild sexual references. A strength of the movie is the portrayal of capable and intelligent minority women and inter-racial respect and cooperation.
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What's the story?
In this remake of a French film, Washburn (Jimmy Fallon), a dedicated cop who is the world's worst driver, gets teamed up with Belle (Queen Latifah), a speed-loving would-be NASCAR driver with a souped-up taxicab When Washburn hails Belle's cab to get to a bank robbery, it leads to all kinds of misunderstandings, shoot-outs, and car chases before they catch up with the culprits, a gang of (yes, really) four Brazilian supermodels.
Is it any good?
TAXI has some numbingly obvious musical cues and even more numbingly obvious jokes, with situation after situation rather than story. The script is so sit-com-ish you almost expect a laugh track. It all seems a little tired, from the lead-off to the tune of a former hit song to the attempt to find some humor in a character who has the same name as Supreme Court Justice Anthony Scalia.
Queen Latifah and Fallon have strong screen presences and great comic timing and the movie has a few moments of silly fun and a couple of slick stunts. The talented Jennifer Esposito gives her standard "exasperated police lieutenant" role some warmth and appeal. Giselle Bundchen makes great use of her supermodel body, but she's no actress. This is one Taxi you should think twice before hailing. (But if you do see it, wait until the very end because the best joke in the movie comes during the outtakes over the credits.)
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