Monday, November 9, 2009

The Baker

I hate to do this, but then again, with this type of comedy you really need to be a fan of the ‘type’ to like this movie. The Brits have a history of making movies about an outsider (or a problem that comes from outside) who unexpectedly makes his or her way into a small, countryside English village. Once there, the villagers break out of their ways (in which they are way set) and band together to do something uplifting and bond strengthening. This was done well in movies like Saving Grace, Greenfingers and Calendar Girls and mocked well in Hot Fuzz. The Baker fits comfortably in that lineage. This 2007 comedy by Gareth Lewis tells the story of Milo (played by the wonderful Damien Lewis, Gareth’s brother), a professional hit man who gets caught letting a ‘job’ get away. The Company interprets this as him losing it and considers him a liability that needs to be taken out. A friend within The Company tells him to go out to his country place in a small village way outside of London. Once he gets there, however, he finds a bevy of nosy neighbors and discovers that the cover is that of a baker, which poses a problem as he doesn’t know the first thing about baking. Over the course of the next hour or so he gives baking a real chance and also takes a chance on relaxing and enjoying the town. Problem is, the town is actually a hot bed of jealousy and in-fighting and they’re all too happy to try and use Milo’s services once they realize he’s not exactly a baker, but THE baker (a name they give him as though it’s his moniker). He learns he really doesn’t want to be that anymore and they learn that they ought to be grateful for each other instead of petty and jealous. Oh, and he just so happens to meet a quirky local vet played by the beautiful Kate Ashfield (of Shawn of the Dead) who seems to just be perfect for him. Now he just needs to convince The Company to stop chasing him, avoid the hitman they sent after him, persuade the villagers to get along with one another and maybe, just maybe, get the vet to overlook his past and fall for him. Watching Milo pull it off is fun, funny and easy to watch, even if it’s pretty predictable, formulaic fare. So, if you’re in the mood for something sweet and funny with a positive message, this is your flick. If you want something gripping and original, you may want to skip it.

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