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film review

Deepak (Vinay Virmani) and Tony (Kunal Nayyar) in Dr. Cabbie.George Kraychyk

A romantic comedy set in downtown Toronto, Dr. Cabbie is the story of Deepak, an unemployed doctor who recently immigrated to Canada in the hopes of finding a job in medicine. Despite having graduated from one of India's top medical schools, Deepak is unable to land a job as a doctor in Toronto, which leads him to convert his taxi into a mobile clinic – which in turn garners him acclaim as a local hero.

Loosely inspired by a 2012 Citizenship and Immigration Canada study titled "Who Drives a Taxi in Canada?" – which revealed that a significant number of immigrant taxi drivers hold a postsecondary degree – Dr. Cabbie is a prime example of a movie with a meaningful message that fails to deliver on its potential.

Putting aside the fact that the characters are painfully underdeveloped, director Jean-François Pouliot's comedy suffers from an identity crisis. The abundance of over-the-top sex jokes forces one to question Dr. Cabbie's uplifting, feel-good message. While it attempts to tell a worthwhile story through a combination of humour and drama, Dr. Cabbie's inconsistent tone and incomprehensible pacing, coupled with disappointing performances from a promising cast, leave much to be desired.

Editor's note: The study "Who Drives a Taxi in Canada?" isn't by Statistics Canada, as stated in an earlier version if this review. It's by Citizenship and Immigration Canada. This version has been corrected.