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Taxi! Taxi! (Template:Zh) is a 2013 Singaporean comedy film[1] based on the 2010 work Diary Of A Taxi Driver by Cai Mingjie, said to be "Singapore's most well-educated taxi-driver". Directed by Kelvin Sng and produced by Chan Pui Yin for SIMF Management,[2] the film stars Mark Lee, Gurmit Singh and YouTube personality Chua Jin Sen,[3] better known by his online handle "Dr. Jia Jia".[4] It is Chua's professional film debut. The film follows two fellow taxi-drivers' (Lee and Singh) quest for self-discovery.[5] Distributed by Golden Village Pictures, the film was commercially released in Singapore on January 3, 2013[6] and slated for a January 24, 2013 release in Malaysia.[7]

PlotEdit

In a bid to hide his retrenchment from his family, PhD microbiologist Professor Chua See Kiat (Gurmit Singh), after many failed job attempts, turns to cab driving. He initiates a friendship between veteran driver Ah Tau (Mark Lee). Together, they embark on a journey for self-discovery.

CastEdit

  • Mark Lee as Ah Tau, a veteran "Ah Beng" taxi driver
  • Gurmit Singh as Professor Chua See Kiat,[8] a retrenched microbiologist[9]
  • Royston Ong as Chua's son[9]
  • Jazreel Low as Chua's wife.[10] Director Kelvin Sng stated that he chose her for the role as:
"There is something about her that is very charming and elegant, which was what I wanted for the role[11]"
—{{{2}}}
  • Lai Meng as Chua's grandmother
  • Chua Jin Sen as Jia Jia, Ah Tau's son.[12] It is his film debut.[13] Sng said of him:
"He is so popular on YouTube because he is such a natural, so we made use of this quality, put him together with Mark [Lee], and we think it worked very well.[14]"
—{{{2}}}

ProductionEdit

DevelopmentEdit

Inspiration was largely drawn from real life blogger Cai Mingjie's personal recounts in his 2010 best selling work, Diary of a Taxi Driver: True Stories From Singapore's Most Educated Cabdriver.[6][16] Boris Boo, Lee Chee Tian and Violet Lai served as screenwriters. Boo, Rebecca Leow, Chan and Sng were credited with writing the story. Chua Jin Sen (better known as Dr Jia Jia)'s involvement in the project kindled public interest. His participation in the film was first mentioned by his mother in June 2012, who told Yahoo! Singapore:

"We decided to allow Jiajia to participate in this movie because they were willing to accommodate his schoolwork schedule and they were also very sincere in their approach.[17] "
—{{{2}}}

She also gave some details about his role, but a confidentiality agreement prevented her from stating more at that time.[17] Greater details about the film were disclosed at a July 2012 press conference, where director Kelvin Sng said [relating to Chua's role]:

"We've scripted his role according to his personality and what viewers are already familiar with from his skits on YouTube... He will be sprouting [sic] a lot of Singlish, that's for sure[18] "
—{{{2}}}

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Taxi! Taxi! is the first on-screen pairing of Gurmit Singh and Mark Lee since their 2001 collaboration, One Leg Kicking.[19][20] Singh attributed this to the "lack of suitable scripts".[21] It is Singh's first feature-length film since Phua Chu Kang The Movie (2010).[9] Taxi! Taxi! also marks the comeback of former actress Jazreel Low.[22]

Financing and filmingEdit

Financers for Taxi! Taxi! included SIMF Management, Galaxy Entertainment, sglanded.net, Widescreen Media, RAM Entertainment and PMP Entertainment. With a budget of S$1 million,[2] production commenced on July 12, 2012.[13] Actual filming begun on July 16, 2012.[18] A particular scene required Chua to be shot from various angles, resulting in many takes. This reportedly made Chua feel frustrated. His mother said of the scenario:

"Jia Jia [a reference to Chua's online handle] did not get why he had to re-do the scenes so many times. He thought it was all his fault and started getting very frustrated, even though I could tell that he was really trying as hard as he could. It was very painful for a mother to watch.[13] "
—{{{2}}}

ReceptionEdit

Box officeEdit

Commercially released in Singaporean cinemas on January 3, 2013,[6] Taxi! Taxi! grossed S$592,000 in its opening weekend.[23] In total it took in $1.45 million, making it the second-highest grossing Singaporean film of 2013, after Ah Boys to Men 2.[24]

Critical responseEdit

Film magazine F***Template:'s Raphael Lim dubbed the film as "run of the mill", giving it only 2 out of 5 stars.[25] Writing for my paper was Boon Chan, who gave the film a rating of 2.5. He wrote that "their [Lee and Singh's] much-vaunted chemistry has been overhyped."[15]

Awards and nominationsEdit

Taxi! Taxi! was chosen as Singapore's first official entry for the 1st Asean International Film Festival and Awards (Abbreviation: AIFFA) 2013, to be held in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia, from March 28–30, 2013.[26]

See alsoEdit

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ReferencesEdit

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