- Movie Rating -

D.C. Cab (1983)

| December 16, 1983

I once got into a taxi cab that pulled up with the company logo printed on the side, “We get you there.”  I like it when people are direct.  My cab driver was a guy named Fred, a very nice man from the Dominican Republic who had decorated the inside of his cab probably more that I have decorated my living room.  He talked non-stop for the whole 45 minute drive to my hotel, possibly because he was lonely or possibly because he might have been trying to distract me from the fact that he was taking the long way around to goose the fare.

My experience with Fred and his over-decorated cab was the kind of thing that I hoped for in D.C. Cab, a dopey comedy about a group of cab drivers in the Washington D.C. district and the various sitcom-style misadventures that happen to them.  It was not what I was hoping for.  Maybe I was hoping for something simple, maybe just a series of funny spot gags involving cab drivers.  I mean, the filmmakers must have taken cabs or possibly even driven a cab in their salad days.  They must have dozens of good stories.

I don’t think any of those stories resemble Animal House, with a rowdy bunch of losers, all types, and the differing stupid identities, philosophies and personal foibles.  These aren’t people, they’re an assemblage of bare-bones character descriptions.  There’s the guy who is defensive about his hair.  There’s the Latin lothario who wants to be Richard Gere in American Gigolo.  There’s the good woman who keeps getting robbed by the same guy every week.  There’s the old salt whose main trait is getting paid for bad poetry.  There’s the tough guy who goes to war with a local pimp.  And on and on and on.  It’s all tired description with no depth.

The focus of the story (if there is one) is on a fresh-faced kid named Albert (Adam Baldwin) and his introduction to this crazy world.  But even at the level of just being a crazy comedy, the movie steps wrong when it tries for a social justice message – particularly on the part of Mr. T., a good guy trying to protect the neighborhood kids.  Contrast that with a hard-R scene in a strip club and you have a movie with a weird agenda.

I don’t know, this movie is all over the place, especially the last third when it turns into a search for a missing violin and then a kidnapping plot.  There are so many directions that this idea could have taken, so many funny opportunities that are missed.  I laughed maybe three or four times but I walked away from D.C. Cab unsure of what the movie wanted to be.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1983) View IMDB Filed in: Comedy