“Your name’s ‘Baby’? B-A-B-Y ‘baby’? Well, you’ve got us all beat. You’re in all the songs.”
Debora, a luminous waitress of the type that exists only in the movies, is lamenting the fact that her name doesn’t feature in many songs at all, just T-Rex’s “Deborah” and Beck’s “Debra.” (Her sister, Mary, has a far more impressive list.) But she’s right that Baby, the male customer to whom she’s lamenting, has them all beat: Carla Thomas’s “B-A-B-Y,” Barbara Lewis’s “Baby I’m Yours,” Sam & Dave’s “When Something Is Wrong With My Baby,” and on and on all the way down to Simon and Garfunkel’s folk ditty “Baby Driver.”
It’s only fitting that the writer-director Edgar Wright’s new movie Baby Driver takes its name from a song. It does, after all, feature all of the songs noted above, among many, many others. Indeed, it’s the rare film that almost seems designed as an accompaniment to its soundtrack rather than the reverse.
Baby (Ansel Elgort) is a twentysomething getaway driver and the preferred wheelman for an Atlanta crime boss who goes by Doc (Kevin Spacey). A childhood accident left Baby with tinnitus—as Doc explains, “He’s got a hum in his drum”—and to drown it out Baby has music pumping through his earbuds more or less continuously. Fast cars, good tunes, helpings of danger and romance, all of it delivered with Wright’s customary visual panache—what more could one possibly ask of a summer movie?