The Baxter (2005)



Critic Consensus: The Baxter is good-natured, but there are simply not enough laughs to fuel this comedy.

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Movie Info

A man with a "doormat" personality tries standing up for himself for a change in this comedy. Mild mannered tax accountant Elliot Sherman (Michael Showalter) is what he calls a "Baxter": the kind of calm, unexciting fellow who "wears sock garters" and "enjoys raking leaves." Loved by bosses and parents, Elliot is a perfectly nice guy. And that's his problem -- he's safe and pleasant, but not very interesting, so as a consequence he hasn't had much luck with long-term relationships, and more than one woman has abandoned him for someone more exciting. Elliot believes his luck has finally changed for the better when he becomes engaged to Caroline Swann (Elizabeth Banks), a smart and attractive editor at a successful magazine. However, a few weeks before the wedding, who should come back into Caroline's life but Bradley Lake (Justin Theroux), her high school sweetheart and, according to many, the great love of her life. Bradley quickly makes it clear that he wants to win Caroline back, and generally in such circumstances Elliot would politely step aside, but just this once Elliot decides to fight for the woman he loves. Elliot gains an unexpected champion in Cecil Mills (Michelle Williams), a frumpy but adorable temp employee at his office who encourages Elliot to develop a take-charge attitude, though the results aren't quite what he expects. The Baxter was written and directed by Michael Showalter, who also plays Elliot; Showalter was a member of the sketch comedy troupe the State, and also works with the comedy performance trio Stella, whose other members, Michael Ian Black and David Wain, also appear in the movie.
PG-13 (adult situations/language, sex)
Comedy , Romance
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:

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Michael Showalter
as Elliot Wendall Sherman
Elizabeth Banks
as Caroline Swann
Michelle Williams
as Cecil Mills
Justin Theroux
as Bradley Lake
Zak Orth
as Wendall Wimms
Peter Dinklage
as Benson Hedges
Paul Rudd
as Dan Abbott
Katharine Powell
as Sonya Simmons
John DeVries
as Alan Swann
Donna Mitchell
as Judy Swann
David Wain
as Louis Lewis
Jim DeMarse
as Leonard Sherman
Leslie Lyles
as Sheila Sherman
A.D. Miles
as Bar Baxter No. 1
Joe Lo Truglio
as Bar Baxter No. 2
Seth Herzog
as Bar Baxter No. 3
Jonathan Marc Sherman
as Bar Baxter No. 4
Peter Stadlen
as Young Elliot
Abby Wathen
as Kimberly
Sarah Drew
as Serena
Chris Spain
as Tanner Bates
Ken Marino
as Jack Mechanic
Audrie J. Neenan
as Pastor Pritchard
Michael Portnoy
as Interpretive Dancer
Madeleine Dauzart
as Wedding Guest
Andrea Rosen
as Bridesmaid
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Critic Reviews for The Baxter

All Critics (74) | Top Critics (26)

The performers are fresh and offbeat, with the diminutive Peter Dinklage (Elf, The Station Agent) especially funny as a gay wedding planner named Benson Hedges.

Full Review… | April 6, 2010
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Showalter tackles his mission with energy and an upbeat attitude that makes him a winner as a lovable loser.

Full Review… | September 29, 2005
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

Only when Williams is around does the movie seem human, true, and funny: Even in her slapstick there's pain. She's almost too good: It's not until she's left a scene that you realize the movie isn't working.

Full Review… | September 23, 2005
Boston Globe
Top Critic

There are enough laughs that those who enjoyed The 40-Year-Old Virgin might want to take The Baxter for a whirl.

September 22, 2005
Arizona Republic
Top Critic

Showalter all-too-slavishly follows the lock-step school of formula romance.

Full Review… | September 16, 2005
Washington Post
Top Critic

Mildly cute while thoroughly forgettable, the chief achievement of The Baxter is it serves to remind viewers how thoroughly adorable Michelle Williams can be, even in something this inconsequential.

September 16, 2005
Detroit News
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Baxter


CUTE! Peter Dinklage completely stole the movie, as he always does. Michelle Williams is adorable, as she always is. Very cute and offbeat.

Leigh Ryan
Leigh Ryan

Super Reviewer

this low-key comedy invents a culture of upscale WASP nerddom that Showalter gets to act out with the maximum mannerisms; Rudd and Banks are unfortunately diminished, mostly by mediocre dialogue; a major step forward in portraying the ultra-cool romantic rival as shallow and tiresome, showing how a person can still look pretty lame even after they fulfill a hip-suave-sensitive checklist--more realistic than Bradley Cooper in Wedding Crashers, the long-delayed post-PC-evolution of the Omega Theta Pi psychopaths in Animal House

Adam Mahler
Adam Mahler

Super Reviewer

A really great and innovative way of doing a romantic comedy.

James Alvarez
James Alvarez

Super Reviewer

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