‘Baggage Claim’ Plays It Safe
With a massively star-studded cast including Paula Patton, Boris Kodjoe, Jill Scott, Taye Diggs and the like, you’d almost expect to be blown away by Baggage Claim, which hit theaters September 27. The comedy flick is told through the narration of Montana Moore (played by Patton), a 30-something flight attendant who’s determined to both find a man and get engaged in 30 days before her sister’s wedding. Like most 21st century women, Montana is met with the pressures to be married and have kids before she’s too old, only she’s painfully reminded by her hyper-traditional mother (Jenifer Lewis) and her sister (Lauren London), who’s engaged before she’s even old enough to drink. For socio-topical relevance, Baggage Claim passes with flying colors. Any modern woman having difficulty in the love department can relate to Montana’s plight.
Unfortunately, the film often takes a dive into a colossal pool of clichés and predictability, even for a romantic comedy. Montana runs into a barrage of Mister Wrongs in her quest to find Mister Right. With the help of her co-workers and friends Gail and Sam (Jill Scott and Adam Brody), she goes on a desperate Skymile ploy to reconnect with her ex-beaus in hopes of snagging the right guy. Though romantic comedies don’t necessarily have to be realistic in order to be effective, the plot in itself is so inherently sexist even the most chauvinist viewer could point it out. Not to mention it’s abundantly clear from the start that Montana’s next-door neighbor and best friend, William Wright (Derek Luke), is in line to be her anticipated love interest and will eventually sweep her off her feet.
As long as your bar isn’t set too high, the film will live up to your expectations, and despite its foreseeable outcomes the airline theme is actually a pretty clever story plot. However, short cameos from Tia Mowry, Trey Songz, Lala Anthony and Terrence J make you wonder why they signed on for the roles in the first place, and most of the film’s best parts were already given away in the trailers. But Baggage Claim isn’t a total disappointment. Seeing Jill Scott play a rather raunchy character—which is outside of her usual comfort zone—is quite hilarious. In one scene Scott flaunts her cleavage on the plane to get a male passenger’s attention, exerting a sex appeal that is quite the departure from her more demure role in Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married? franchise. For once, Scott is both youthful and alluring. Additionally, Patton’s performance is captivating and versatile under the circumstances. She impressively bobs and weaves through funny and sappy without being overly dramatic or dull.
Baggage Claim is pretty cut and dry. It’s funny enough for the males, and it’s romantic enough for the ladies. But if you’re looking for anything in between, you’re barking up the wrong tree. Despite its awful clichés, the film will keep your attention for an hour and a half.—Gerren Keith Gaynor (@MRGERRENALIST)
XXL Rating: M