Deepak Chopra (Vinay Virmani) is a med school graduate from New Delhi, who immigrates to Toronto, in the hopes of fulfilling his dreams of helping people. However, Deepak hits a dead-end when he finds out his Indian medical degree is not recognized by the Canadian medical industry and he’s forced to get a job as a cabbie. While on shift, Deepak picks up an attractive, and pregnant, lawyer-turned-barista named Natalie (Adrianne Palicki), who suddenly goes into labour in the backseat of the cab. Deepak is forced to deliver the baby and becomes a media sensation when the video of the birth, filmed by his friend Tony (Kunal Nayyar), hits the internet. In response to his sudden fame, Deepak decides to run a mobile medical clinic from inside his cab.
Dr. Cabbie is a comedic take on the very real issue of qualified immigrants, who are unable to find work in their profession in North America and are forced into more menial career paths. Indeed, at one point in the film, Deepak’s grumpy dispatcher Pete (Stephen McHattie) tells him that the cab company has “more PhDs than Harvard.” While this isn’t the first time this issue was referenced in film or television, the concept of a doctor-turned-cabbie running a clinic out of his cab is undoubtedly an original one.
Dr. Cabbie has a very sitcom-like vibe to it, with a crazy cast of characters. Much of the comic relief in the film comes from Kunal Nayyar (The Big Bang Theory), who plays Deepak’s sex-obsessed friend Tony. The film also features antics involving Deepak’s family, which includes his mother Nellie (Lillete Dubey), as well as his somewhat sleazy uncle Vijay (Rizwan Manji) and ditzy blonde Caucasian aunt Rani (Mircea Monroe). The film also has a very cartoonish antagonist, in the form of, Natalie’s slimy lawyer of an ex-boyfriend, Colin (Chris Diamantopoulos), who is racist, sexist, and everything in between. Among all the sitcom goofiness in the film, Dr. Cabbie still has some touching moments, particularly a romantic subplot between Deepak and Natalie. Also, the film does get a bit more serious about its themes around the third act.
While not a full on parody, Dr. Cabbie still takes the opportunity to poke some fun at Indian films and culture. For instance, the film features a large Bollywood-style birthday party for Deepak, complete with singing and dancing, which he comments is not that big by Indian standards. Despite the many winks and nods towards Indian culture, Dr. Cabbie is the type of film that can be enjoyed by people of all ethnicities.