|Directed by||Tim Story|
by Luc Besson
|Produced by||Luc Besson|
|Edited by||Stuart Levy|
|Music by||Christophe Beck|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|Box office||$70.8 million|
Taxi is a 2004 American action comedy film directed by Tim Story and starring Queen Latifah, Jimmy Fallon, Gisele Bündchen, Jennifer Esposito, and Ann-Margret. An incompetent New York City police officer is banned from driving and comes to rely on a talented taxi driver to help him solve a series of bank robberies. The film was panned by critics.
Belle Williams is a talented driver and auto mechanic who dreams of driving in NASCAR. She celebrates her last shift as a bicycle courier after earning her taxi license and beating the shop's record with a new delivery record of 13 minutes and 54 seconds. Although in a happy relationship, she occasionally neglects her boyfriend Jesse and has bestowed much love on her custom-built 1999 Ford Crown Victoria taxicab over the past five years. She skips her dinner date, to install a supercharger that was given to her as a present for her last day of work. Her first customer offers her a $100 tip if she can make it to JFK Airport in fifteen minutes. She makes it in 9 minutes and 28 seconds, while almost getting caught speeding on the freeway and through Manhattan.
Meanwhile, bumbling undercover detective Andy Washburn blows his cover during a police raid, a gunfight ensues, the criminals escape, and Washburn's partner is wounded. Attempting to follow them Washburn crashes his partner's car. Washburn's cold-hearted and selfish boss Lt. Marta Robbins—who is also his former girlfriend that he retains unrequited feelings for—confiscates his driver's license and demotes him indefinitely to foot patrol duty. Hearing of a bank robbery, Washburn tries to flag down a car in the middle of a street, causing dozens of civilians and their cars to crash into each other, resulting in a major pileup. He flags down a taxicab, which turns out to be Belle's. He commandeers the car which transforms into the street car from earlier. They arrive at the bank just as a quartet of female Brazilian robbers leave in a BMW.
Washburn accidentally shoots out one of Belle's windows and they end up cornering the BMW in an alley. The BMW driver cleverly gives Belle the slip, but as the car passes, she recognizes the occupants as the same models from the airport. Their leader is Vanessa. In a misunderstanding, police arrive and hold up Belle and Washburn. Belle's cab is impounded as evidence and she is taken in for questioning as a witness to the robbery; she is upset as it means the loss of two weeks' earnings. Washburn promises to get her cab back if she will join him and help him solve the bank robberies.
Belle and Washburn pursue the robbers, getting close once or twice. Washburn takes Belle to his home after Jesse kicks her out for missing out on their dinner date. Washburn's mother is constantly drunk and always has a batch of margaritas going in the blender. She brings up embarrassing moments of Washburn's past and talks about why he's such a bad driver. Later, Washburn talks to the impound cop and eventually convinces him to give him and Belle the cab back. They realize that the gang always robs banks just before the garbage collection is due. The robbers take the money, put it in the trash and the garbage man collects it. Washburn is fired for constantly disobeying orders. Later that night, Belle teaches him to drive with "This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)" playing on the radio. They discover the garbage collector on the bank route has been performing collections for the gang because they have kidnapped his wife. They trace the kidnapper and recover the garbage collector's wife and all the loot.
The police learn which bank is next to be hit, and they wait for the robbers, who take a hostage. After a hostage swap, the gang escapes with Lt. Robbins as hostage, followed by Washburn and Belle in her cab. Belle calls on the help of her former bike messengers to pinpoint the location of the car. Using the cash from the garbage truck, they pinpoint the operation headquarters and negotiate a trade. Belle transforms the cab and during the ensuing chase, they continually try to swap the hostage for the money while driving down the highway. Washburn forces the robbers down a long bridge he knows is under construction. With the robbers trapped on a section of the long bridge, Washburn and Belle laugh victoriously.
Enraged and defeated, knowing that her plans have failed, Vanessa fires her gun at them and wounds Belle. While the police arrive at the scene to arrest Vanessa, Washburn drives Belle to the hospital singing "This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)". However, Washburn crashes into the hospital so Belle can be quickly taken to be recovered. Sometime later, Belle achieves her dream of driving NASCAR, sponsored by New York banks. Washburn gets reinstated back into the NYPD as Detective for foiling the string of robberies. Robbins and Washburn's mother attend her first race to cheer her on. Jesse finally proposes to Belle. As Belle begins to race, a challenger pulls up, revealing himself to be Jeff Gordon.
Taxi was released on October 6, 2004 in 3,001 theaters and opened at #4 at the box office. It grossed $12,029,832 in the opening weekend. It went on to gross $36,611,066 domestically and a further $32,284,369 from other markets contributed to a worldwide total of $68,895,435, against a production budget of $25 million. The film was released in the United Kingdom on November 19, 2004, and opened on #5.
Taxi was panned by critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 9% based on 106 reviews, with an average rating of 3.35/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Silly and unfunny remake of a French movie of the same name." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 27 out of 100 based on 27 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.
Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote: "How one likes Taxi has everything to do with how one responds to the hapless cop character, played by Jimmy Fallon." LaSalle was also critical of the car chases, calling them "lackluster and fairly unconvincing." Kirk Honeycutt of The Hollywood Reporter wrote: "This thoroughly repetitive, ill conceived and poorly executed effort -- with an emphasis on the word "effort"—defeats these two talented people more often than not."
Robert Koehler of Variety called the film "embarrassing evidence that even a ragged French original can be better than its American remake. Failing to improve on the inept but hugely successful 1998 Luc Besson vehicle". Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times states "Oh, this is a bad movie" and "only gets worse as it plows along". Megan Lehmann of the New York Post dubbed the film "Taxi Drivel" and said: "This witless action comedy begins to insult the audience's intelligence from the opening scene."
Claudia Puig of USA Today wrote: "A surprisingly funny, female-driven romp — as long as you don't question too many plot particulars."