Get me outta here, Baby
Over the past sixty or so years, many amazing songs have been written by some very talented people. These are songs that make you lose your mind with joy, songs which shut out the rest of the world, and that motivate you in ways you never thought possible.
Songs like Brighton Rock by Queen, Nowhere to Run by Martha and the Vandellas, Bob and Earl’s Harlem Shuffle, and the Simon and Garfunkel classic Baby Driver.
These songs entertain you more than Robbie Williams’ entire oeuvre ever could, take you in their jaws and don’t let you go until you’ve jumped up and down, sung your heart out and danced like crazy.Their brilliance remains, no matter what you do with, or to, them.
You could, for example, play them in a massive room — a cinema, say - while nothing is playing on the screen. Guaranteed great night.
Or, you could get a group of actors to live out out an unsophisticated teenage boy’s wet dream on aforementioned cinema screen, while those songs were playing in surround sound. Your enjoyment might be somewhat interrupted by the incessant shooting, painfully hammy language, fast car driving and woman-saving but the songs remain, and are still amazing, so you won’t have a terrible night. You most likely will, however, wonder why in particular you’re there, in the cinema, without any discernible story to watch and no real reason to have left your house. Except for enjoying the songs.
Baby Driver is a vessel stuffed only with wonderful music written by other people. Apart from that, it is empty. B-A-B-Y Baby is empty, too — an empty character stuffed only full of Ansel Engort’s charming smile and easy demeanour. Apart from that his entire character, personality and purpose remain a mystery throughout this much-hyped Edgar Wright film.
Apart from spending most of Baby Driver waiting for any kind of a story to grab me, I also spent a lot of time confused as to why Baby draws so much attention to himself by driving erratically and the wrong way down streets in a way that is absolutely guaranteed to draw attention, even though he’s often not yet being pursued by the police before he started down these one way streets and the like, and therefore should be trying to not draw attention to himself. But I don’t harbour dreams of being a bank robber, a getaway driver, or Louis Hamilton, so it will likely never make sense to me.
There is also the extremely confusing presence of Baby’s step-father — a poor, deaf, but plucky man in a wheelchair. What the hell purpose he serves — other than a desperate attempt to give Baby some of the depth we’re craving from both him and the film — I could not tell you, dear reader.
I can tell you, however, that Kevin Spacey is great. But Kevin Spacey is always great. Kevin Spacey being great does not a half-acceptable film make. Putting Kevin Spacey in your film to beef it up is like putting Judi Dench in an episode of Hollyoaks, submitting it to the Oscars and, when they asked WTF you were thinking, responding with: “yea, but, didn’t you see Judi Dench?”
As we’re here, it’s probably worth mentioning that there are precisely three women with any substantive role in Baby Driver. One, a thin-yet-curvy, stunning-in-a-slightly-psychotic-jail-bait-y way, bubble-gum-chewing Latina. She’s a gangsta named Monika (AKA “Darling”) and Jon Hamm’s wife. The other girl is a thin, blonde, short-skirted waitress with an angelic singing voice. She gets saved by Baby on multiple occasions. Thank god. There’s also a dead, blonde mum who had a beautiful singing voice when she wasn’t being beautifully fragile. Cool.
How Baby Driver became one of the most-hyped films of the summer I honestly am not sure. My only guess? The songs. Baby Driver is all hype and no might. It is pure pedal to the metal, snooze to the max.