Baggage Claim

Directed by: David E. Talbert

Starring:  Paula Patton, Adam Brody, Djimon Hounsou, Taye Diggs, Christina Milian, Derek Luke, Boris Kodjoe, Trey Songz, and Jill Scott

I am well aware that Baggage Claim currently is certified rotten by other critics.  After seeing the film’s underwhelming trailer, I was fully prepared to join that chorus of boos.  Much to my surprise, although the film is obvious and predictable, Baggage Claim does have some charm.

Montana Moore (Paula Patton) is a flight attendant living in downtown Baltimore, Maryland.  Her mother Catherine (Jenifer Lewis) has been married five times and has instilled in Montana that a woman is not a lady until she is married and not a real woman until she has given birth to two kids.  (Catherine is incredibly progressive).   Montana, however, is hopelessly single and has dated a string of losers.  Sheree Moore (Lauren London), Montana’s younger sister, announces that she is getting married in a month.  Montana feels pressured to arrive at her sister’s wedding with a date and prospective husband.

Fellow flight attendant Sam (Adam Brody) concocts a scheme for Montana to find “Mr. Right” in thirty days.  Since it is the holiday season and many people are on travel, he uses his fellow airline and airport colleagues to track the travels of Montana’s past loves so that she can “accidentally” bump into her old boyfriends during travel and possibly rekindle a love connection.  With the help of Sam and her best girl pal Gail (Jill Scott), Montana jets around the country frantically reconnecting with past loves in order to find her significant other.  All the while, her best friend from high school William (Derek Luke) is there providing a shoulder to lean on during the inevitable rocky patches.

Baggage Claim could provide excellent material for any college course on feminism.  The protagonist throughout most of the film defines herself solely by her ability to land a man and she literally travels 30,000 miles in Spanx and tight fitting dresses to snag Mr. Right.  While it is not drastically different than films like The Wedding Date or other romantic comedies surrounding single women and weddings, there is something distasteful about the overall premise in a 2013 film.

With that being said, after I stopped cringing, I relaxed and took the film for what it is: a superficial, lighthearted rom com that is not meant to be taken too seriously.  The film’s star, Paula Patton, actually delivers in this role.  Generally, I have been unimpressed by Patton’s acting skills.  However, she plays the role of the hopelessly lost, goofy ditz looking for love perfectly.  She was endearing and at times quite charming.  The supporting cast is also worth mentioning.  Most notably, the back and forth between divas Adam Brody and Jill Scott provides comic relief throughout the movie.  Overall, there were enough one-liners littered throughout the film which kept patrons in my theater laughing.

However, there were some acting and directing missteps.  The film’s director and writer, David E. Talbert, is best known for his stage plays.  The dialogue and many of the scenes in the film seem more appropriate for a theater setting where heavy handedness is necessary.  The acting by the supporting cast was at times choppy and just plain bad in some scenes.  Furthermore, because the plot is simplistic and predictable from the first few minutes of the film, Baggage Claim starts to drag towards the end of the movie.

As a film critic, I have to give Baggage Claim a 0.09% rating because of its lack of originality.  But if it comes on cable, curl up with a Cosmo and watch out for a few laughs.