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Clock Runs Out Early on '3 A.M.'

Showtime's movie 3 A.M.
concentrates on three New York City cab drivers — a black, a Latina and a Bosnian — all working the night shift at a time when a cabbie killer is on the loose.

Billed as a "racy urban thriller," 3 A.M. isn't all that racy, and it's not quite a thriller.

Rather, it's a mostly intriguing multicultural character study fashioned by writer Lee Davis, who also makes his directorial debut.

Most of the 90-minute movie fleshes out that multicultural trio in a realistic way as all three struggle to make ends meet. They're also trying to overcome troubled pasts.

Danny Glover portrays Hershey, a onetime New York Knicks player whose career was derailed by injury. Divorced, he's now dating a diner waitress named Georgia, a.k.a. George (Pam Grier), but fearful of a deeper commitment.

Rasha (Sergej Trifunovic) has flashbacks to war-torn Bosnia. And Michelle Rodriguez of Girlfight
fame is Salgado, an angry Latina whose abusive childhood causes her to hallucinate.

Unfortunately, the movie takes a wrong turn, starting when the accident-prone Rasha suddenly finds himself in an outlandish Ben Hur-like race with another cabbie, until a child is hit.

In a harder-to-believe segment, one of Salgado's hallucinations drives her to shoot a passenger she believes to be the devil.

Rasha, panicky about being jailed for the apparent hit-and-run death, asks Hershey to take him to Kennedy Airport so he can fly home. En route, they spot Salgado's disabled taxi by chance. As Hershey fixes the car, Salgado secretly shoves her gun under the front seat of his cab.

Later Hershey picks up the killer, who demands his prized championship ring and his cash. Leaning over to get his cash box, Hershey is stunned to find a gun.

The producers — including Glover and Spike Lee — then try to force suspense in the final moments, switching to a long-camera view just as Hershey and the killer face off and shoot. Cut to the diner for a scene that doesn't ring true.

In its favor, the drama contains several well-acted vignettes, featuring Roger Rees (The West Wing) as a priest; Mike Starr (The Bodyguard) as the owner of Theo's Diner; and Bobby Cannavale (NBC's Third Watch) as Jose, another cabbie.

In one cameo, Spike Lee, as himself, takes Hershey's cab to a Knicks game at Madison Square Garden. But another — featuring Knicks superstar Walt "Clyde" Frasier as himself and Salt 'N' Pepa's Pepa as Hershey's ex-wife — is superfluous.

Showtime's 3 A.M.
will bow on July 1 at 8 p.m.