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.
Pretty much all you need to know to understand the labyrinthine plot of “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” is that “Joes” rhymes with “heroes.” Everything else is window dressing. Well, window dressing that explodes, but you know what I mean.
Based on Hasbro’s G.I. Joe toys and comics, “Retaliation” sees the GI Joe squad—Duke (Channing Tatum). Roadblock (Dwayne Johnson), Flint (D.J. Cotrona) and Lady Jaye (Adrianne Palicki)—framed for treason. Shut down by order of the President (Jonathan Pryce) they team with a retired general, Joseph Colton (Bruce Willis), to battle venomous international terrorist organization Cobra and super villain Zartan (Arnold Vosloo).
There are bombastic fireworks galore in “GI Joe: Retaliation,”—which you expect from a movie about G.I. Joes and power hungry madmen—but it isn’t the movie you might expect from the people who wrote “Zombieland.” With that pedigree you’d expect a high laugh to body count ratio; maybe not “Zero Dark Funny” or anything, but every now and again it teases with a line like, “They call it a water board, but I never got bored,” that’ll make you wish for more belly laughs and fewer bullets.
The tone of the film feels skewed. It’s all about the action, although the fighting scenes, while plentiful, are shot so that it is often difficult to tell who was beating the tar out of whom.
There are laughs buried amid the bombs but more often than not the action gets in the way of the giggles and the plot.
It’s not a complicated story, exactly, but the movie makes the assumption that the audience has read the comics and knows the mythology surrounding the Joes (Navy Seals on steroids with an extra dose of attitude), Cobra (the bad guys) and the various ninjas.
That’s where this movie wanders.
You’ll be glad the ninjas are there—there’s a wild ninja chase in the middle of the movie—but their backstory and shifting alliances muddy things up. Remind me again, is Storm Shadow a good guy or a bad guy?
If you are content to sit back and allow explosions to scorch your eyeballs—the little flying bug bombs are cool—and watch The Rock flex his muscles, then “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” may hit the sweet spot for you. But if it’s a good mix of action, laughs and story you’re after, maybe skip this one and cross your fingers that the inevitable sequel finds a better balance.