They call me Baby Driver, and once upon a pair of wheels, I hit the road and I'm gone.
It stars the stunning Ansel Elgort as a Southern-fried country boy whose Mama actually named him Baby. Aspiring country-western singer Mama and abusive Daddy are gone now, killed in an auto accident that gave Baby tinnitis, so he must constantly listen to music to drown out the whine (the opening credits demonstrate -- painfully loud!).
He works as a driver for the heists masterminded by supervillain Doc (Kevin Spacey), with whom he has a creepy gay subtext relationship: "We're friends, aren't we? You're my lucky charm. You're my baby."
Other members of Doc's crew, which changes for every heist, disapprove, thinking that he's autistic, "retarded," or gay. When Buddy (John Hamm), wall street banker turned criminal, is listening to Queen with Baby, the loose-cannon Bats (Jamie Foxx) objects:
Bats: Queen? What's next, show tunes? How you gonna pull off the heist when you prancing around like that?
Doc: You'll all be spending the night.
Bats: Great, now we gonna be sleeping together, too!
Baby lives with his aging foster father Joe, who is deaf, uses a wheelchair, and is apparently senile. But he doesn't think that Baby is gay, not even when the boy pretends to flirt with him, or when he prances around the apartment, lip-synching Barbra Streisand like he's practicing for Rue Paul's Drag Race.
The heists get more and more violent. People are killed. When they stop for snacks, Bats kills the convenience store clerk ("What, you expected me to pay for it?"). He even opens fire on the dealers trying to sell them guns:
Bats: They were cops.
Doc: Yes, but they were my cops.
Oh, how will Baby ever escape this sordid world of heists, murder, and creepy gay relationships?
You guessed it: A girl.
Correction: The Girl.
After work Baby goes back in time to the 1950s, where Debora (Lily James) is working at Bo's Diner.
Well, not really working, since Baby is the only customer, and he never orders any food:
Debora: What can I get you?
Baby: The title of that song you were singing.
There's another gay moment when Baby thinks that Debora is named "Jonathan" -- is she a boy in drag? No, she's just wearing someone else's name tag.
Like The Girl in a hundred movies (and that Journey song), Debora dreams of escape from her dull small-town world (in Atlanta, metro population 6 million!). She sees Baby, who she thinks works as a chauffer for rich people, as her ticket out.
They go on one date, kiss, and then things get interesting, with hostages, car chases, double-crosses, cops, and vigilante thugs. Doc agrees to help them because "I was in love once" (he says while staring at Baby. Not much for subtlety, are you, dude?).
Cops everywhere, chases, dropping off the stepfather at a senior care facility, then more chases, Debora shows that she knows her way around a gun. There's almost a Thelma and Louise conclusion. But that would be too cliched even for Baby Driver. Instead, Baby goes on trial, and Debora claims that she was a hostage. But he has a good heart.
The closing shot literally places them in the 1950s, with Debora dressed like one of Fonzie's girlfriends on Happy Days picking up Baby in a pink 1950s convertible so they can go to a sock hop at Arnolds and rock around the clock.
I liked this movie, in spite of the cliched, homophobic plotline of a boy being saved from a destructive gay "lifestyle" by The Girl. The driving sequences were beautifully choreographed. Presenting Atlanta as both a modern metropolis and a cliched 1950s small town was wonderfully absurd. There were lot of cute guys, especially if you like tattoos.
And I don't care if he did drive off into the sunset with a girl, that boy was definitely gay.