If you’re going to make a two-character film you’d better have two really interesting people in your script and damned good actors to play them. Daddio has exactly that, and the result is an intriguing curio that serves as a showcase for the talents of Dakota Johnson and Sean Penn. He drives a Yellow Cab and she is his latest passenger at JFK airport, heading for midtown Manhattan. A bad accident has slowed traffic to a dead stop, which he takes as a cue to initiate a conversation with her.

Penn is a quintessential New Yorker whose job has made him an amateur psychologist and philosopher. He believes he can size up anybody who climbs into his taxi. In Johnson he senses a vulnerable subject, and she is willing to play along as they reveal things about their private lives that one normally wouldn’t share with a perfect stranger. (Once upon a time, colorful New York cabbies were a staple of Hollywood movies but they have vanished in recent years, much as they have in real life.)

If you can’t or won’t buy into this conceit you might want to skip Daddio and its nearly two hours of talk. But I am such a fan of Penn’s—and I’m becoming fonder of Johnson with each film I see her in—that I didn’t mind at all. Kudos to writer-director Christy Hall for pulling off such an elaborate coup.

Leonard Maltin is one of the world’s most respected film critics and historians. He is best known for his widely-used reference work Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide and its companion volume Leonard Maltin’s Classic Movie Guide, now in its third edition, as well as his thirty-year run on television’s Entertainment Tonight. He teaches at the USC School of Cinematic Arts and appears regularly on Reelz Channel and Turner Classic Movies. His books include The 151 Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons, The Great Movie Comedians, The Disney Films, The Art of the Cinematographer, Movie Comedy Teams, The Great American Broadcast, and Leonard Maltin’s Movie Encyclopedia. He served two terms as President of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, is a voting member of the National Film Registry, and was appointed by the Librarian of Congress to sit on the Board of Directors of the National Film Preservation Foundation. He hosted and co-produced the popular Walt Disney Treasures DVD series and has appeared on innumerable television programs and documentaries. He has been the recipient of awards from the American Society of Cinematographers, the Telluride Film Festival, Anthology Film Archives, and San Diego’s Comic-Con International. Perhaps the pinnacle of his career was his appearance in a now-classic episode of South Park. (Or was it Carmela consulting his Movie Guide on an episode of The Sopranos?) He holds court at Follow him on Twitter and Facebook; you can also listen to him on his weekly podcast: Maltin on Movies. — [Artwork by Drew Friedman]

Subscribe to our newsletter


Maltin tee on TeePublic


Maltin on Movies podcast


Past podcasts


Maltin On Movies Patreon


Leonard Maltin appearances and booking


July 2024