The Baxter Reviews
You know how in romantic comedies theres always the guy standing next to the girl as her true love makes a dramatic speech and whisks her away, that poor sad sap, is what is called a Baxter.
Elliot Sherman has always lost girls in this manner, and he'a all set to get married until the viscous cycle begins anew with the return of his fiances long time old flame Bradley. Elliot then does his best to avoid falling into Baxterdom, and seeks advice from Michelle Williams, a quirky temp, which only complicates things.
The absurdity is toned down alot here from the "Wet Hot" days, but all of the actors(many from the previous film, Micheal Ian Black, Paul Rudd, etc), all give great comedic performances. The Baxter at it's heart is a parody, but it's one with a unique one with some heart, similar to recent break-up comedy success "Forgetting Sarah Marshall", but more cute this time around than crude
The premise is like any other romantic comedy - Mr. Right tries to stop a young lady from marrying Mr. Wrong - except this movie is from the perspective of Mr. Wrong (aka 'The Baxter'). Anyone familiar with Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead will understand the fun novelty of shifting perspective in a familiar story. Showalter pulls the trick off well, clearly defining the setup and theme within minutes and relying on clever editing to tell the story of his hapless character.
Showalter also shows off his comedic talents by avoiding the obvious genre cliches (don't expect any "hair gel"-type scenes). In fact, The Baxter would be PG except for one line (if you see the movie and are curious, just ask me which). This is the antithesis of the cynical love story with direction and editing reminiscent of French New Wave and early Woody Allen comedies.
I hardly know anyone who has seen this movie so if you check out The Baxter, please let me know how you liked it. And stick around for the credits because there's more to the story...