Friday, May 11, 2018

Wacky Taxi - 1972

I wish you could all hear the frustrated, defeated sigh I just let out before I started this review of Wacky Taxi.  Really dude?  You're going to name your movie Wacky Taxi?  Alternate name, Pepper and His Wacky Taxi.  Nope, not any better.

My thought as I watched this, and that I want to convey the most is: what the hell did the script for Wacky Taxi look like?  I'm willing to bet it looked a little like this:

Lady Patron:  Can you take me downtown?
Taxi Driver:  Sure lady, hop in.
(driving montage, over which is heard random incoherent mumbling by the taxi driver, the lady patron, and other people who are not pictured.  Also, previous conversations from the movie play in the background during the montage, for no apparent reason)

I mean what the fuck, seriously?  In dialogue scenes, the driver rattles on and on while no one is listening.  Half his sentences are partial thoughts, interrupted, meaningless, really just the types of things someone would be thinking.  A lot of "Uh, I'll put that here, what's with this luggage, go to the airport, hop in the cab, yeah I can make change for a $20, 60 cents please, how do I get downtown..." and so on.  Randomly a fare person will start speaking too "Hey driver...what's with the traffic....how much to...can you take me....say what is this?" and so on.

Incomprehensible would thus be a good term for this movie entirely but especially the dialogue.  The plot is simple I guess, I'll take that back.  Some dude named Pepper has five kids, and he decides to support them by quitting his job, investing his money in a run down old Cadillac, and starting a taxi business.  It's a success I guess, and we follow him as he drives around, talks, and does nothing.

Minor plot turns happen, the taxi is stolen at one point.  Pepper tries to recruit people to make a taxi business.  Pepper gets in trouble for operating a taxi without a permit.  But nothing means anything, no problem is presented as an actual roadblock, and everything hums along like nothing as this supposed "comedy" plays on for almost 90 minutes.

Is it funny?  Come on, do you need to ask?  I'd be very hard pressed to take a guess at what was even supposed to be a little bit  funny.  Nothing is anything!  Nothing ads to anything, nothing goes anywhere, nothing is ever said or done or expressed.  There's not a pratfall, not a shtick, not a gimmick or an accent to be heard.  It's all just random, unclear, and off-putting.  No.  There is no goddamn comedy.  It's about as funny as a hole in your shoe on a day when it's raining.

I'm going to predict, with just a bit of aggitation and perhaps too much determination, that no movie in this set will make me laugh.  The 70's was a great time in comedy too!  Monty Python, Woody Allen, Mel Brooks, Cheech and Chong, Peter Sellers, John Waters...  But this, ugh, this just hurts.

What saves it from zero stars, I guess, is the fact it's not....hm....unwatchable.  It's linear, the characters are defined.  It wasn't like it was hard to follow.  God, why am I giving this any stars?  I just considered giving it zero.  i was going to give it one.  You know what?  Half a star.

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