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Baggage Claim (A Movie Review)

Updated: Jun 28, 2020

Baggage Claim


Starring Paula Patton, Derek Luke, Taye Diggs, Jill Scott, Adam Brody, Jenifer Lewis, Djimon Hounsou, Boris Kodjoe, Tremaine Neverson, Ned Beatty, La Anthony, Christina Milian, Lauren London, Rickey Smiley, Thomas Miles and Tia Mowry.

Screenplay by David E. Talbert.

Directed by David E. Talbert.

Distributed by Fox Searchlight Pictures. 93 minutes. Rated PG-13.

It is so rare to find a really good romantic comedy these days that you want to forgive Baggage Claim's faults. And maybe the movie is just catching me in a good mood, but I think I will. It is hardly trailblazing, trolling in rom-com clichés and some shallow characters and a rather unlikely storyline. We know who Mr. Right is the moment he appears on screen (hell, the character is even named Wright!) even though our heroine takes about 90 minutes to pick up on it.

But screw it. I liked Baggage Claim much more that I was expecting to. Sometimes you just must give in to your visceral reaction. Baggage Claim is far from perfect, but dammit, I liked it. A lot. And if you go into it in the right shut-off-your-inner-critic mood, you undoubtedly will enjoy it as well.

Writer/director David E. Talbert adapts his own 2003 novel (of the same name) about a gorgeous flight attendant named Montana (Paula Patton) who is approaching 30 and has just found out that her college-aged sister (Lauren London) is getting married and her five-time married mom (Jenifer Lewis) is pressuring Montana to find a husband, too.

Problem is that Montana has just found out the guy she thought was Mr. Right (Boris Kodjoe) is actually married with a pregnant wife. Therefore, Montana has 30 days to find the perfect date to little sister's wedding.

This task is taken up by Montana's two besties at the airline, fellow flight attendants the sex-mad Gail (played by singer Jill Scott) and sensitive gay buddy Sam (Adam Brody). They figure it's too late to start from scratch, so they will have their friends throughout the airline track guys Montana had previously dated so that Montana can "appear" on their flight.

She spends the next few weeks running though airports, flying constantly cross country and catching up with guys that she had already broken up with once.

There is the happening music producer Damon (Tremaine Neverson, a.k.a. singer Trey Songz) who acts the big shot but turns out not to have a dime to his name.

There is Langston (Taye Diggs), the black Republican running for Congress who wants a beautiful woman by his side, but not to have her own opinions.

There is Quinton (Djimon Hounsou), the multi-millionaire who promises her an around-the-world trip of luxury and sex but refuses to promise her a commitment.

And then there is her long-time platonic best friend William (Derek Luke), who lives next door to Montana with his sketchy girlfriend, but is willing to drop everything to rescue Montana every time her plans go awry (which is pretty much always).

As I said earlier, it is obvious from the jump that William is the perfect guy for Montana, so the film must go out of its way to keep them apart as long as it can.

The wedding-mad storyline gives Baggage Claim a bit of an old-fashioned feel. Even though all her friends and Montana herself say that she should not be defined by a man, she is still willing to go to crazed lengths to find Mr. Right.

However, cheesy, old-fashioned, and slightly clichéd as it may be (they even have a scene of the heroine rushing across town to the airport to catch a guy before he flies off), Baggage Claim is fun and smart. It's a lot better than it has any right to be.

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2014 All rights reserved. Posted: February 4, 2014.

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