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Chicago Cab

Have you ever wondered, sitting in the back of a taxi and idly imagining all the other people who've been in and out that day with their problems and preoccupations, what a cabbie's day is like, and thought, "Hey, wouldn't that make a great movie?" Yeah, you and everybody else. And the short answer is, sure it could be a great movie, but it could also be a boring, stilted mess. It's a cold Christmas day and our cab driving anti-hero (Paul Dillon), complete with skinhead buzz and attitude, is roaming the mean streets of Chicago picking up fares. Each new customer is a walking cliche, just like our rage-filled but secretly sensitive cabbie, and his early fares include religious fanatics, bigoted businessmen, and sleazy, codependent, trash-talking couples. The cumulative effect of their encounters is zero, because it's so obvious what's going on. Later he picks up a woman who has just been raped (Julianne Moore), and the lone sympathetic guy in all of the windy city, a thoughtful, hard-working architect (Reggie Hayes), but the only real character in the movie is Chicago's pathetic squalor. The script was awkwardly adapted by former cab driver Will Kern from his own play, "Hellcab," and the characters all come off as cardboard cutouts; the talents of a surprisingly distinguished and eclectic cast -- including John Cusack (who also served as executive producer), Julianne Moore, John C. Reilly, Laurie Metcalfe, Kevin J. O'Connor, Michael Ironside and Gillian Anderson are squandered. This is one ride just not worth taking.