D.C. Cab (1983)

DVD Cover (Universal)
Comedy, Urban Comedy, Workplace Comedy
Joel Schumacher Joel Schumacher
Max Gail Max Gail
Adam Baldwin Adam Baldwin
Mr. T Mr. T
Charlie Barnett Charlie Barnett
Gary Busey Gary Busey

5.5 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Chad
Added: July 10, 2011
D.C. Cab is a movie that I probably never would have heard of, much less watched, if not for the fact that I was recently reading about a fellow named Charlie Barnett. Charlie was a highly underrated street comedian whose biggest claims to fame were a handful of small movie roles, an unaired segment on Def Comedy Jam, and a ton of performances on the streets of D.C. where he didn't even use a mic. He is also a man that Dave Chappelle credits as a mentor. Sadly, Barnett died of AIDS back in '96, and it's a shame that he never got a chance to shine on a bigger stage.

The story centers around a cab company known as D.C. Cabs, and to be more specific, it focuses on a man named Albert (Adam Baldwin) who is attempting to get a job there. Now, this is not your typical cab company: it is owned by an off-kilter guy named Harold (Max Gail), it is as ghetto as a cab company can be, and it is staffed by what one character refers to as "the eight stooges." Rounding out the staff is Mr. T, Charlie Barnett, Gary Busey, Bill Maher, Paul Rodriguez, The Barbarian Brothers, and a handful of other characters. Anyway, Albert eventually gets his cabbie license, joins the team, and starts to bond with his coworkers... until, that is, he is kidnapped along with a couple of children. This is where the other cabbies are forced to band together in order to save the newest member of their team and take out a couple of armed men in the process.

D.C. Cab is an ensemble comedy, one in which each character was given something to work with that stuck to what the actor was best known for, and it was all loosely strung together with the cab company angle. Each and every last one of the characters gets at least a couple of scenes to themselves, and aside from Bill Maher, they all brought something entertaining to their respective scenes. Maher is the only one that I didn't really care for, as his laid-back approach seemed out of place in the film and his comedy just wasn't very funny. He was the only weak link in the movie though, as everyone else - even Mr. T! - was humorous. Charlie Barnett gets my vote for best in show, as his racially-charged character had me in stitches time and time again. Gary Busey is... well, he's Gary Busey. You either love the guy or you hate him, but he was at his coked-out best here.

The vast majority of the movie is comprised of random scenes involving these characters, and these scenes really have no relevance in the grand scheme of things. For example, there is a subplot involving Mr. T wanting to clean up the streets and take out a drug-dealer that is wrapped up with Mr. T blinging out his cab. It simply ends there. Another scene involves the other cabbies wearing Halloween masks while chasing Tyrone through the city, and again, this is limited to one scene with no explanations and no further references. It is only in the last twenty minutes of the film that a legitimate plot starts to unfold, but honestly, I'm not going to complain too much about that. The scenes were funny, the characters lovable, and I can't say that I didn't have a good time kicking back with this movie.

Now, I did say that I wasn't going to complain about the lack of a plot too much, and I'm not: you're not going to care when you watch Gary Busey rip off a stripper's thong in order to get his money back, and you're not going to be dwelling on it too much when Charlie Barnett is screaming his fool head off as a train is barreling towards him. There's a lot of hilarious moments in the film, and that makes the lack of a plot sting a little less. However, when you encounter some of the weaker scenes, you start to realize how much stronger the overall film could have been with some tighter writing and more focus on the big picture.

Overall though, D.C. Cab gets a thumbs up. It is by no means a classic film, but it is an enjoyable one and it does deliver plenty of laughs and memorable scenes. Above all else, it is also pretty damned entertaining, and sometimes, that's all you need on a lazy Sunday in front of the tube. 7/10.
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MrMurder #1: MrMurder - added 07/10/2011, 11:59 PM
This is a thoroughly enjoyable movie.
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