Blallywood Film Review: Baggage Claim
Montana Moore (Paula Patton) has given herself thirty days to find love. She’s been Maid of Honor at more than ten weddings and after her little sister Sheree (Lauren London) becomes engaged, she succumbs to the embarrassment of attending the wedding a single woman yet again. Using her clout as a flight attendant, she and her co-worker friends Gail (Jill Scott) and Sam (Adam Brody) hitch a plan to have her meet ex-boyfriends on flights during the holiday season hoping to rekindle a flame.
The cast is full of familiar faces- Jenifer Lewis, Tia Mowry-Hardrict, Derek Luke, Djimon Hounsou, Christina Milian, Boris Kodjoe, La La Anthony, Taye Diggs, Ricky Smiley, and even Trey Songz- all pulling equal weight, even in short scenes, to keep the narrative afloat. The effort is noteworthy. Many scenes are warm and funny and Patton is adequately charismatic and vibrant as she navigates the shallow plot. Scott is quite lovely to watch, as usual. Her eyes are incredibly communicative and I love the musicality in her voice as she provides memorable comedic relief in the best friend role. Derek Luke is solid and sweet as Montana’s best friend from grade school whom she eventually realizes is her true love.
The ensemble and general tone of the film are successful. The ease of transition and dialogue make it pleasurable to watch. However, the film does little to express any authentic personality. Also, the stakes are low and the characters aren’t realized or developed quite enough for us to really connect to the narrative. The film, though cute, is largely forgettable.
Although, in a way, I appreciated the mundanity of the film. For once, a film with a black protagonist wasn’t making a statement about race, or hitting us over the head with stereotypical circumstances. The plot was fairly universal, we simply saw a lonely young woman deal with her desire to find love. Though the method is completely asinine and I could see the end coming a mile away, it was refreshing to see Hollywood back a story like this one.
The inventory of romantic comedies since the birth of the American film industry is vast. And ironically, they are all the same. Though Baggage Claim hits many of the essential notes in the romantic comedy genre, it lacks stakes and style, making it pretty bland and uninteresting. This coupled with what I think is a premature release date make Baggage Claim difficult to care about. The movie takes place during the holidays, had it been released later in the year, I probably would have appreciated the syrupy sentiment a bit more. C.