Friday, February 12, 2010

The Baxter

Year 2, Day 42 - 2/11/10 - Movie #407

BEFORE: A romance film about nice guys, exploring whether they do indeed "finish last".

THE PLOT: The twists and turns of a young man's life during the two weeks before his wedding.

AFTER: Written, directed by, and starring Michael Showalter, this film explores a certain type of man, called a "Baxter", who is generally a sort of simple, old-fashioned, quirky guy who is constantly getting dumped as his girlfriends fall for more dynamic and exciting men. The type of guy that women settle for, when they can't get the guy they really want.

You've seen it many times - a wedding scene at the end of a movie, when the minister asks for anyone in the crowd who has any reason why the couple shouldn't get married to "Speak now, or forever hold their peace." Of course, in a movie, this is when the ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend bursts in and declares their love, derailing the wedding. But this movie STARTS with that scene, then backtracks to show the history of the characters. The question becomes - are the couple in question destined to be together, or with other people - and what is destiny, anyway? And if a wedding gets derailed, is that automatically a bad thing?

Like last night's movie, this is the story of two people meeting and falling in love - but the presence of an ex-boyfriend threatens their relationship. There's something of a "domino effect" in this film - one break-up causes a person to go back to their ex, which prompts another break-up, and so on down the line. There's a love triangle, or maybe it's really a love quadrangle, or a hexagon if you include all the players in the chain...we can only hope that our hero ends up in a relationship when all the dust settles.

It's a little simplistic and maybe a little predictable, but at least the situation is something of an original one.

I met Michael Showalter a few years ago, after casting him to do a voice in an animated film - and not only is a great, quirky actor, he seems to play a consistent type of role, similar to the Baxter seen here. I think it's important for an actor to be familiar with the type of role they're best suited to portray.

Actually, I used to watch a comedy troupe at NYU that eventually became the cast of "The State" on MTV, and a good portion of that sketch show's cast is featured in this movie - Michael Ian Black, David Wain, with cameos from Joe LoTruglio and Ken Marino.

Also starring Elizabeth Banks, Michelle Williams, Zak Orth, Peter Dinklage, Paul Rudd, and Justin Theroux (one of my least favorite actors...)

In a bit of synchronicity, I watched "30 Rock" earlier tonight, which guest-starred Elizabeth Banks, and also "Parks & Recreation", which guest-starred Justin Theroux. Neato...

RATING: 6 out of 10 tuxedos

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