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Baggage Claim

Baggage Claim

In Theatres: 
Sep 27, 2013
Running Time: 
1 Hour, 36 Minutes

Baggage Claim wastes some great talent on a boring premise and horrible cliche's.

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and no one could be more excited than Montana Moore (Paula Patton). Her boyfriend has asked her to come meet his family for Thanksgiving and that can only mean one thing: Marriage. Marriage is the most important thing for Montana because it means, according to her marriage-obsessed mother (Jenifer Lewis), that she is finally becoming a woman. However, when things turn sour, Montana is faced with no man to give her life meaning. Even worse, her younger sister has just gotten engaged and made Montana her Maid of Honor, meaning she's the last to get married. In an act of desperation, Montana, with the help of her two best friends Gail (Jill Scott) and Sam (an on-point Adam Brody), uses her benefits of working for an airline to track down every ex-boyfriend who is traveling for the holidays in order to make them the next Mr. Montana Moore. But, love is never that easy. Will Montana's heart ever be cleared for take off?
God, where to begin. After being introduced to Montana as a woman who has made way too many metaphors comparing her relationships to airplanes, we discover that she lives next door to her childhood best friend, subtly named William Wright (Derek Luke). Immediately it becomes clear that Montana is meant to be with William. Director David E. Talbert doesn't even try to treat his audience with respect by, later, having William drive by in his work truck that has the slogan "When it's Wright...It's Right" slapped on the side. And, as if Talbert wanted his audience to walk out before it was over, he has a character say "Enjoy your flight, Mr. Wright". Man. They actually named him Mr. Wright. Perhaps this isn't a new issue as Talbert wrote the book that Baggage Claim is based off of, but it doesn't make it any less infuriating to watch a plot unfold that you know from square one will end in a certain way. 
Plot development aside, there really isn't much to Baggage Claim other than a woman being surprised that her ex-boyfriends haven't changed. She reconnects with these men, falls in love with their beauty and then is shocked when their personalities are exactly the same. It's a very monotonous tone that is somehow supposed to be interesting. Paula Patton does the best that she can with this role, including stripping down twice, but nothing can save the slow pace and predictable story Talbert has offered up. The only thing coming close would be Adam Brody's Sam, the gay, sassy best friend to desperate Montana. He's given plenty of lines that he delivers and seems to really be enjoying playing off of Patton and Scott. Jill Scott's Gail, however, is just playing the horny selfish friend who drools over men while her friend goes through crisis after crisis. It's very one note and gets tired very quickly. 
There's plenty to dislike about Baggage Claim that it becomes tiring to try and find something enjoyable about it. Ultimately, this is due to the overuse of every romantic comedy cliche' ever established. Even down to the ironic dancing to 80's music and reading old High School yearbook comments, it's all been done before and even done better. I could go on about everything irritating in Baggage Claim but it's my understanding that Talbert is a household name and has a big following. So, at the sake of saving those fans any more spoilers, I cannot. But there's no denying Patton's beauty and the desire to just see her happy. In the end, that's what is going to get people into the theater and keep them entertained, regardless of how cliche' ridden it is. 
Aggravatingly cliche', Baggage Claim has a great ensemble cast and wastes them on a boring script that drudges on for the longest 96 minutes I've experienced. When Ned Beatty getting racist is a welcome moment of levity, you know there's an issue. Unfortunately for everyone involved, Baggage Claim is full of issues that keep it grounded and stuck on the runway. 
Ryan Sterritt
Review by Ryan Sterritt
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