As defined on the box, a Baxter is: “a compromise ‘to true love.’ The epitome of ‘settling.’ Shorthand for a bachelor with lots of exes, who’s kind of a loser.” Writer/director and leading actor Michael Showalter plays CPA Elliot Sherman, a quintessential Baxter whose relationship with beautiful blond and fellow Young Turk Caroline (Elizabeth Banks) is jeopardized when her confident, attractive ex-boyfriend from high school (Justin Theroux) shows up to throw a wrench in their planned nuptials at the start of the film. Taking us back in time, Sherman leads us to the stages of the unraveling of their relationship from the moment they met onward. The Baxter is a simply hilarious film with highly quotable “geek speak” that should appeal to both fans of the former NBC show Ed (and two of the stars show up here) as well as the films of Wes Anderson. This IFC Films/MGM production benefits greatly from the utterly original script and a lovely eccentric turn by Michelle Williams as Minnesota native and office temp, Cecil Mills, the slightly mousy, dictionary reading, stage fright prone aspiring singer who becomes the close friend and confidant to Sherman. While of course, you realize at once who will end up together in the film’s merry-go-round of romantic comedy and disastrous coincidences, getting there is the ultimate fun and this roughly ninety minute film should have you fully engaged within the first few minutes. It’s the type of movie that will eventually build momentum on DVD by word-of-mouth as it’s so infectious that I found myself ready to recommend it to friends immediately after viewing. Great soundtrack selections as well!
iTunes Songs from The Baxter
“Beautiful Child” by Rufus Wainwright