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The Independent Critic

Donlee Brussel
Running Time
14 Mins.
Steve Gelder

 "Cabbie" Review 
Originally screened by The Independent Critic during its debut run at the Lake County Film Festival in March 2007, "Cabbie" was a modestly entertaining comedy short featuring a marvelously deadpan performance from Steve Gelder as an aspiring cabbie who can't seem to pass the driver's test.

Flashing forward to 2009, director Donlee Brussel has sharpened "Cabbie" throughout its two-year festival run and turned the finished product into a comedy gem that runs a full eight minutes shorter and has been edited to achieve a crisper, fuller comic effect. Gelder, who improvises the majority of his lines with delightful results, infuses wannabe cabbie Marty Yacovelli with the perfect blend of deadpan seriousness and an almost childlike yearning for the cabbie life. Gelder's Yacovelli has practiced and practiced and practiced for that day when he finally passes his required exam and becomes a Chicago cabbie, and it's Gelder's ability to sell Yacovelli's sincerity that turns "Cabbie" into a funny, heartfelt comedy short that is already taking home festival prizes since the release of its new cut in October of 2009.

Proof positive of the value of the festival circuit for the independent filmmaker, Brussel has clearly listened to feedback from audiences and peers alike and turned "Cabbie" from a near miss to a cinematic delight.