Movie: The Baxter
My Rating: 3 stars
I’m not really the sort to go in for romantic comedies. All the characters always seem so desperate. It’s not very pleasant to watch. But, I’m almost always in the mood for a spoof. So, I was receptive to the main premise in this movie—one that is poking a little bit of fun at the genre. This movie isn’t quite at the level of They Came Together—Amy Poehler’s full satire of the rom-com genre. That movie identified every ridiculous trope that one might find in a romantic comedy, and crammed all of them into one absurdist movie. But, this story is a little different.
This movie is written and directed by Michael Showalter. And, he also stars as “the Baxter,” that poor character who always shows up in romantic comedies just to get dumped. A “Baxter” is the unfortunate character who always starts off the movie dating our leading lady. The audience knows that he’s a total doofus, and they’re just waiting for the female lead to come to her senses and kick him to the curb in favor of the rakishly handsome guy that she should have been with all along. No one ever thinks about the poor knucklehead that just got dumped. Poor guy! I found the concept to be very funny. Our poor Baxter doesn’t suspect a thing. He thinks that everything is going swimmingly, and that he’s definitely going to get married to the beautiful woman of his dreams. The idea would be heartbreaking if Showalter weren’t such a good comedy writer. But, he’s got the comedic instincts too pull it off without the story seeming tragic.
This is a fun little movie. It’s definitely a self-aware comedy. It knows what it’s doing in poking fun at the idea of a romantic comedy. That being said, it still feels an awful lot like a real romantic comedy. The setup may be a little different, but the stakes are ultimately the same. The audience is still hoping that our bumbling leading man can find love in the end. It’s super corny, even though that’s exactly what it was trying to be. But, I still enjoyed the movie. I’ve always been a fan of David Showalter’s comedy, and that’s what ultimately make me sit down and watch this one. I think you’ll probably enjoy it too as long as you’re approaching this movie with the right attitude.