Baggage Claim’s trailer fooled me, like so many other times in my life where I’ve been doped into excitement for a subpar film because of a two minute teaser. Sure, it was going to be corny, I knew that, but I was positive Baggage Claim was going to be funny and actually entertaining. A film featuring the likes of Boris Kodjoe, Djimon Hounsou, Trey Songz, and a few other slightly bald, yet less muscular but handsome men strewn throughout the cast left me positive that Baggage Claim would not only tickle my lady parts but also my belly in laughter. Now, I didn’t expect Baggage Claim to be the second coming in the romantic comedy genre, but I did rank it’s worth of seeing above September openers Rush, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, and even Don Jon. Sometimes, I can be the worst decision maker.
Montana Moore (Paula Patton) is a gorgeous, unnaturally happy flight attendant who’s almost 30. However, unmarried and childless, Montana is obsessed with the idea of finding Mr. Right, especially after relentless pressure from her five-time married mother. When Montana’s younger sister announces her engagement, Montana is forced, by herself that is, to find a date/prospective husband to present at the rehearsal dinner. With the help of her two “best” friends, the sex-crazed Gail (Jill Scott) and gay pal Sam (Adam Brody), they decide to enlist the use of their airline network to track down a number of Montana’s exes for her to run into by “happenstance.” It doesn’t matter that she broke up with them ages ago, if she’ll now change her perspective aka lower her standards to nonexistent, she’s sure to be wifed up in no time. Montana has 30 days or else she might as well slit her wrists in shame. This would have been such a better movie if she just had.
“Wait, so you’re telling me there’s more things to life than finding a man? Bullshit!”
About 90 percent of Baggage Claim is Montana flailing around airports, going on dates, and talking endlessly about finding the right man. 10 percent of Baggage Claim are the dates themselves. Half of that 10 percent is kind of funny. Taye Diggs, Tia Mowry and Adam Brody are arguably the film’s strongest comedic elements with Diggs playing a former flame and prospective congressman with a pension for control while Mowry plays an over emotional, unhinged girlfriend of another ex. Actual comedians featured in the film, like Ricky Smily and Affion Crocket, are sadly wasted, only being featured for a few minutes each. In fact, many of the film’s strongest, most interesting characters are made into transparent, side characters.
In a nutshell, I hated mostly every character we are forced to focus on. Nearly every person featured is the worst type of superficial dumbass I’ve seen on screen in long time. Montana has hardly no sense of self and bases her ideals and therefore self-identity off her mother’s crooning, awful advice from friends and fairy tales. To Montana, and everyone else in this film, a woman is defined only by marriage. Whatever someone tells her, she stupidly believes even if it goes against her own barely existent but slightly evident belief system. Every character’s personality is sadly defined by their role within the film. Gail is a slut and nothing more. The film makes sure we are aware of this by dressing her in scantily clad outfits and making sure her subject of choice in conversation is always sex. Most the men Montana comes in contact with are frankly pigs who only talk highly of her after they’ve looked her up and down long enough to objectify her into a slab of meat with breasts. It’s never discussed why she even dated most of these men, but considering her penchant for good conversation I can only assume she’s just as superficial as they are.
The irony that he played a person strongly against blood diamonds, then shows her affection with a diamond bracelet is just hilarious.
Baggage Claim is not only a feminist’s nightmare, but it’s a cinephile’s worst dream as it’s too predictable to have involved in any form of creative intelligence what so ever. The script for Baggage Claim is barely good enough to line the bottom of a birdcage with. There’s no surprises or individuality, only terrible dialogue and embarrassingly predictable outcomes. You know who Montana will marry 20 minutes into the film when we meet her childhood best best friend… wait for it, William Wright (Derek Luke). This makes most if not all of the scenes featuring the two painfully redundant to watch. Also it’s obvious that her inner character needs some adjustment, and how else do films of this nature fix that? SPEECH! However, the standard trope of a woman ending up with a partner destroys any sense of female empowerment that she begins to have and all that self-awareness is thrown out the window. The script for Baggage Claim made me embarrassed for writer/director David E. Talbert, especially when Montana proclaims that everyone wants a woman to have a “MBA, then a J-O-B but, not a M-A-N.” That line made me want to punch myself in the ovaries.
The all black cast of Baggage Claim just feels strange and off. I wasn’t expecting Soul Plane when I walked in, but I also wasn’t expecting a Nancy Meyers film. Baggage Claim felt like I was watching White Chicks, except the Wayans Brothers’ character’s were in blackface.
“We went deeper undercover.”
Not only is Baggage Claim a safe, conventional film, but it makes you completely aware of the filmmaking process. Moments between Montana and Willian in his car talking are infuriatingly awful. The cinematic process is nothing more than your average shot-reverse shot between the two. Plus it’s painfully obvious that they are on a soundstage in a fake car with an even faker background whizzing by. And let me just say, Paula Patton’s acting is like nails on a chalkboard. She’s so damn happy and bubbly the entire film that it’s like watching a Disney Princess play in a live-action film.
Baggage Claim is one of those movies I pray I never have to sit through again. It’s not the worse film I’ve ever seen, but it’s stupidity makes it so damn close. The fact that this film still pushes the idea of a woman being definde by marriage and a man when divorce rates grow higher every year is just ridiculous. Sure, the person she ends up with is someone who mentally stimulates her, but the whole film pushes marriage as THE thing to do if you love someone. It’s 2013! Haven’t we figured out you don’t need the institution of marriage to make a happy life? There’s no moments of Montana just being happy by herself. When she’s alone, she’s either sad or filling that void on the phone. According to this film, the only reason for a relationship is so you can get married, have kids, and die. I think films and ideas of this nature is detrimental to society as they perpetuate the fear in women of being unmarried by 30. What’s the point ladies? If marriage is supposed to be like Real Housewives‘ Melissa Gorge’s new book in which she practically cries for help about the fact she can’t do anything on her own accord, not even give up sex for a night if her husband wants it, then world we’re doing it all wrong… so wrong.
Take a drink: Every time Montana explains why she wants to get married.
Take a drink: Every time Montana’s mom is nagging, mean spirited bitch.
Take a drink: For every guy Montana goes on a date with.
Take a drink: Every time Montana has a fantasy.
Take a shot: When you wonder why she just didn’t confront Graham.