Chicago Cab (1998) / Comedy-Drama
MPAA Rated: R for language, sexual situations and some drug use
Running Time: 98 min.
Cast: Paul Dillon, John Cusack, Julianne Moore, John C. Reilly, Gillian Anderson
Director: Mary Cybulski, John Tintori
Screenplay: Will Kern
Review published April 11, 2003
Will Kern adapts his own play for the big screen based on his real-life experiences in driving a cab in the streets of Chicago. The play is called "Hellcab," as is the video release, but theatrically and on cable you may have also seen this under the title Chicago Cab, which is more appropriate, as the other title misleads you into thinking this may be a horror flick. The style is very episodic, as it is really nothing but a series of eccentric Chicago citizens who visit the back of one man's taxi during the course of Christmas Day. Some of the passengers have humorous things to say or do, while others are merely tragic. We have one protagonist, an unnamed cab driver played by Paul Dillon, who reprises his role from the play, as the only character to be in the film for the duration.
Chicago Cab was directed by the husband and wife team of Mary Cybulski and John Tintori, and marks the only directorial effort by either of them, both long-time veterans in the movie biz as a script supervisor and editor respectively. It is co-produced by John Cusack, who also make a brief appearance in the film as one of the creepiest guys picked up. There are other notable cameo appearances by Julianne Moore, Laurie Metcalf, John C. Reilly, and Gillian Anderson, but none of them last for very long, so this isn't recommended if you just want to rent a film to see one of your favorite stars.
Although there's food for thought here and there throughout Chicago Cab, it is a little too disjointed to derive too much deeper meanings as a whole. As an inside look into the life of a big city cab driver, even if it's just an amalgamation of the weirdest and wackiest, Chicago Cab still is recommended for something a little different and interesting.
©2003 Vince Leo