BABY DRIVER Movie Review

By Victoria Alexander, Film Critic

Las Vegas Informer

Edgar Wright put a YA storyline into a heist plot. Unfortunately, sweet Elgort – a criminal – has no dark edges. Baby has 8 out of 10 symptoms of Asperger’s Syndrome.

Have you seen Sam Taylor-Johnson’s video for R.E.M.’s ÜBerlin starring her husband Aaron Taylor-Johnson?  If not, you can see a homage to it in BABY DRIVER.

I am of the opinion that Aaron Taylor-Johnson should be starring in every movie. He would even be the perfect Eve Harrington when they remake ALL ABOUT EVE.

Instead of Aaron as Baby, its Ansel Elgort. Its the best thing Elgort has done so far. He’s been cast in safe, sexless roles in those highly successful DIVERGENT movies and teen  tearjerker THE FAULT IN OUR STARS.

Elgort is still pretty in BABY DRIVER and he still is pure. Baby can fall in love without having sex, so you know he’s really perfect boyfriend material, even if he is a criminal.

But he has a good reason he’s a criminal! Let’s forget he was stealing cars by the time he was 12 years old. One day he steals the car belonging to master crime boss Doc (Kevin Spacey). The car must have had millions of dollars in the trunk when Baby accidentally overturned it during a high speed chase and it blew up. Baby owes Doc a lot of money. But Baby has an unique God-given talent: he can drive. And every self-respecting gang of thieves need a good “wheelman.”

Even though the latest getaway from the $4 million dollar robbery of Kim Kardashian in Paris was by bicycle!

(I know. Parking in Paris is a bitch!)

Regardless of what happened to Doc’s car, Doc considers Baby his lucky charm. Without even one high performance driving lesson – the Skip Barber Racing School offers a 3 Day program for $3,995.00 – Baby is paying off his debt. And considering he gets a full share of the stolen loot and he has been doing all the driving for Doc’s jobs, crime doesn’t pay the way it used to.

Doc has a rule – he never uses the same team twice. The first team Baby is driving for is made up of Buddy (Jon Hamm), Darling (Eiza Gonzalez), Eddie “No Nose” (Flea) and Griff (Jon Bernthal). Considering that Baby has shown them his excellent driving skills while evading the entire Atlanta police force, they do not shown him much respect. A full share? For driving?

Like the last murder investigation, the last heist, and the last dance, Baby has just one final job and he is all paid up.

Baby wouldn’t be Baby without an idiosyncratic tick. He must match up his driving with the beginning of a song. He will not drive until the opening notes of a song while the bank robbers are standing outside waiting to be picked up.

Baby makes everyone around him nervous. He is always wearing earplugs connected to vintage iPods.

Will BABY DRIVER bring iPods back?

Baby is taking devoted care of his deaf, old guardian. He has no friends. So when he meets diner waitress Debora (Lily James) he almost starts talking in full sentences. Its not lust but music that brings Debora and Baby together. With that one final job comes freedom and Baby will drive off in the sunset with Debora.

How does Baby rank on the “10 Symptoms of Asperger’s Syndrome: Know the Signs” online test? Number 1, Failure to Develop Friendships – check; No. 2, Selective Mutism – check; Inability to Empathize – check (Baby doesn’t seem to understand why everyone thinks he’s weird); No. 4, Unable to Make Eye Contact or Forcing Eye Contact – check (Baby wears sunglasses indoors); No. 5, Social Awkwardness – check; No. 6, Narrowed Interests – check (Baby is only interested in music); No. 7, Sticking to Routine – check (that beginning of the song routine); No. 8, Literal Interpretations – NA; No. 9, Excellent Pattern Recognition – check (Duh) and No. 10, Poor Motor Skills – NA.

That’s 8 out of 10 symptoms.

Doc is too superstitious to let Baby go and he tells Baby his diner girlfriend will never look the same again unless he drives again.

Doc is breaking his first rule of criminality! He brings back Buddy and Darling. He adds crazy lunatic Bats (Jamie Foxx) for a post office heist.

Villains are highly entertaining. Audiences love characters who just don’t care. They are free from the yoke of morality. It has something to do with not following a ton of petty rules and laws. Ignoring the soul-stripping banality of everyday restrictions, Hollywood villains always express their individuality. Baby did not once slow down while going over a bump! Of even more significance is that Baby has Green Light Karma. And he never gets stopped for making an illegal U-turn.

Contrasting the innocent love of Baby and Debora, Buddy and Darling can’t keep their mouths, hands and body to themselves. They crawl all over each other while leaving the plotting of crime to Doc.

How does the final last job go? It’s a Hollywood rule – it never goes smoothly.

Baby’s flippant attitude towards such dangerous driving starts to rub off. Hell, how wild could the ride out of town be if Buddy, Darling and Bats don’t even bother with seat belts?

Edgar Wright, who wrote and directed BABY DRIVER, put a YA storyline into a heist plot.

Hamm and Foxx are terrific and chew up the scenery with abandon. Foxx has all the great lines and he knows it.

James looks like she’s in love but few sparks come from Elgort.

Infuriating, I just don’t know why its a movie rule. Why is the bag full of money is always left open in the middle of the road?

Instead of BABY DRIVER, see DRIVE (even if the money is left in the middle of the road).

Victoria Alexander

Member of Las Vegas Film Critics Society: www.lvfcs.org.

Victoria Alexander lives in Las Vegas, Nevada and answers every email at victoria.alexander.lv@gmail.com. 

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