Like an over-stuffed kachori “Dr. Cabbie” fills its story to over flowing with dance numbers, social commentary, slapstick humor, romance and even some political intrigue. There’s something for everyone, but the movie goes for heart-warming rather than heart-burn, so what happened to the spice?
Vinay Virmani stars as Deepak, a new immigrant from New Delhi, who arrives in Toronto with a degree in medicine and dreams of following in his MD father’s footsteps. Instead he is met with bureaucracy and frustration. The medical establishment in Canada doesn’t accept his hard-earned degree and he won’t be able to practice medicine in his new country.
A friend (“The Big Bang Theory’s” Kunal Nayyar) gets Deepak a job driving cab, and in one eventful night he meets Natalie, the girl of his dreams (Adrianne Palicki), and delivers her baby in the back of the hack. When a video of the birth goes viral he becomes a something of a sensation. Soon people are flagging his taxi, looking for medical treatment. With a thriving practice on wheels, he doles out medical advice and prescription drugs to customers from the back of his cab. When one of his patients over medicates a lawsuit ensues and Deepak must prove why he deserves to call himself a doctor.
“Dr. Cabbie” means well but maybe if it didn’t mean so well it would be a better movie. The relentlessly upbeat tone of the film doesn’t allow the story, which has an underpinning in a real and compelling immigrant experience, to breathe. The story is so cluttered with stock characters, slapstick and sweetness that the seriousness of Deepak’s plight—his inability to practice medicine—gets lost. In the cartoony world the movie creates the most realistic element is the depiction of Toronto’s chaotic traffic.