If Only

I’ve been thinking about the film The Baxter since I caught the end the other day on IFC. I’ve actually seen it several times and own the DVD because I love, love, love the story. It’s an original craft of the story done over and over again in every rom-com. A guy meets a girl, they fall in love, and then it falls apart. Michael Showalter (Wet Hot American Summer) is the writer and director of The Baxter.
What makes the film different is that it is about the other guy. Showalter also stars in the film as Elliot Sherman, the said Baxter. As Showalter describes, a Baxter is a man left at the altar, the nice guy who falls for the wrong girl and is plagued with ailments like allergies, strange fears and devoted interest in numbers or reading the dictionary.
All he needs is a girl who reads the dictionary too. Enter Cecil Mills, played by Michelle Williams. Cecil and Elliot navigate through the story together while each figuring out their own lives. Early on Elliot becomes engaged to Caroline Swan (Elizabeth Banks). But he and Cecil, who is a temp in his accounting office, are still drawn to each other as Caroline realizes perhaps her high school sweetheart Bradley is her dream guy.

Showalter presents this story through witty dialogue, intelligent comedy sequences, and most of all a lot of heart. It takes place in Brooklyn and New York City and the film seems to be not only a homage to the idea of romance but the filming location as well.
If you watch The Baxter, and I highly recommend you do, you’ll learn what a gromwell is, the benefit of taking risks, and see that just about anybody can find romance. Even Elliot Wilbur Sherman. Yes, there’s hope.


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