Baby Driver – 3.75 stars
As close to a musical as you can get without anyone actually singing, Edgar Wright’s (The Cornetto Trilogy) crime joyride is a mixed bag, but what is good is very good. Baby, (Ansel Elgort) a virtuoso wheelman who appears to be just under the drinking age, owes his respectable but lethal crime boss (Kevin Spacey) services for a prior boost of Spacey’s merchandise. There is a semi father-son relationship going on here, but Spacey is a harsh father, forcing Baby to drive with increasingly erratic and dangerous robbers (Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx, Eiza Gonzales, Jon Bernthal, and, inevitably, Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers). Baby, of course, just wants out, and his desires increase when he meets just the most adorable diner waitress you’ll ever come across (Lily James). Things, however, go terribly wrong.
Did I say musical? Baby suffers from tinnitus, which is tempered by his ear buds, which are always inserted, providing him – and the audience –the soundtrack to his life. For the most part, this gambit works, and is particularly effective during the driving scenes. Other times, it’s overstretched. Baby is a bit of a cipher, and it adds little to his meager backstory to have him Astaire his way to get coffee.
This is mostly a crisp, canny flick, but it still falls a little short, and after the initial euphoria of viewing, it dropped from a 4.5, settling in at this score. Wright has abandoned his comic glee for a foray into Tarantino Land, and he produced a pretty good facsimile. Still, I miss the unbridled fun of the Cornetto Trilogy.