Back Shelf Beauties
by Willie Waffle

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Jimmy Fallon needs to call Tina Fey and beg her to write a movie for him half as good as the one she wrote for Lindsay Lohan, or half as good as the stuff they used to do on Saturday Night Live. Then, I will laugh at his jokes, because they will be her funny, intelligent jokes instead of his moronic behavior passed off as funny.

Fallon stars as Andy Washburn - the worst and dumbest detective in the history of the NYPD. He's a menace on two feet, but even worse when he gets behind the wheel of a car. After crashing his vehicle into a bodega, Washburn is busted back down to beat cop, but that doesn't stop him from commandeering Belle's (Queen Latifah) tricked out, souped up taxi to chase after some sexy, scantily clad, Brazilian models (led by Giselle "The Body" Bundchen) who have robbed a bank. The chase goes badly, Belle's cab is impounded, and Washburn gets fired, but the two team up in an attempt to catch the models so she can get her cab back, and he can prove he's a good cop. .

Can they catch the robbers before they strike again? Will we get to see the models in bikinis?

Somewhere, someplace, someone is yelling at me, "just lighten up Waffle! It's a comedy." WRONG! It's a comedy thriller, and the comedy is so stupid, you can't believe the thriller part. Sadly, the thriller part might have worked, but someone thought Taxi could be funny, and stuffed it full of idiocy instead of hilarity.

Director Tim Story tries to make a decent movie, but Taxi is a flop. He is left to beat some jokes to death, like Washburn's driving difficulties. Then, he constantly gives us leering camera shots of the models every time they step out of a car. With a crummy script from Ben Garant, Thomas Lennon and Jim Kouf (based on a French movie, again proving the French haven't given us anything good since The Statue of Liberty or French Toast), Story is left to go for flashy action over plot development or establishment of a complex mystery to solve. To pad the movie when the story is overly simple, he gives us two introduction scenes for Belle, when one will do, and had to throw in some meaningless scenes and characters like Belle going to the DMV, an FBI Agent (Chistian Kane) whose whole role consists of growling about his investigation, and Washburn's Mother (Ann Margaret) who is in the movie to convince us alcoholism is funny.

Story doesn't make it farcical enough to be funny, and, because it's so stupid for 90% of the movie, he can't get us to feel sympathy for characters in the right moments or take the movie seriously when it becomes about fighting crime. Additionally, Story over sanitizes Taxi to the point you never believe anyone is in danger, which takes away from the drama.

Latifah does as best she can with horrible dialogue and baseless comedy, but it's Fallon who suffers the most. He is left acting dumb and outrageous as if this unto itself is funny. Some of it works, most of it made me cringe. Washburn is made to look so dumb, you can't believe he could ever be admitted to the police academy let alone solve a well-planned series of bank robberies by highly trained, amazingly skilled and deadly perpetrators, so Fallon is left to give it the old college try and hope we don't remember the early part of the movie where the audience is left to wonder if this guy is smart enough to remember how to breathe.

Taxi quickly runs out of gas shortly after the opening scene. Save your money.

1 Waffles (Out Of 4)

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