Thursday, October 17, 2013

Baggage Claim [2013]

MPAA (PG-13)  CNS/USCCB (A-III) (1 1/2 Stars)  AVClub (D)  Fr. Dennis (3 1/2 Stars)

IMDb listing
CNS/USCCB (J. McAleer) review (C. Lemire) review
AVClub (I. Vishnevetsky ) review

Baggage Claim [2013] (written and directed by African American writer, playwright and film-maker David E. Talbert) is an African-American oriented romantic comedy in which, in contrast to most Hollywood produced films, almost all of the characters and the actors/actresses playing them are African American.  The "niche" quality of the film would help explain why despite the luke-warm (to worse...) reception of the film by most mainstream movie critics, the film had a buzz in the African American press [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] and three weeks out it remained in the top ten at the American box office.  (Note that quite impressively the CNS/USCCB's own reviewer gave the film a basically positive review).

So what's the film about?  Montana Moore (played by Paula Patton) is a young/attractive Baltimore based African American flight attendant who doesn't have much of a care in the world until her mother (played by Jenifer Lewis) arrives with news that Montana's _younger sister_ Sheree (played by Lauren London) just got engaged to get married and then (Sheree's still in college) to a college Heisman Trophy contender (ie the guy's "a catch").  The news sends older sis Montana's inner life into a spin revealing resentments against mom ("she's been married FIVE TIMES...") and insecurities ("Why can't I seem to find a guy?").

Well it turns out that Montana's kinda got a guy, a Chicago businessman named Graham (played by Boris Kodjoe) who she's been dating for a while and who's invited her to Chicago for Thanksgiving (a few weeks away).  "He's invited me over for THANKSGIVING," Montana tells her fellow flight attendant BBFs Gail (played by Jill Scott) and Sam (played by Adam Brody), "And that can only mean one thing!"  Poor Montana thinks that one thing is AN ENGAGEMENT RING, but it turns out that Graham has quite another thing in mind:  After enjoying an afternoon with her on his yacht on Lake Michigan (as a Chicagoan, I found this one scene the most amusing of the film as ... NO ONE IN HIS/HER RIGHT MIND WOULD TAKE  A DATE ON A "ROMANTIC CRUISE" ON HIS/HER YACHT ON LAKE MICHIGAN IN LATE NOVEMBER as it would be either raining or practically SNOWING in Chicago at that time ;-) he delivers her to a posh hotel room in the city and tells her that he "has to fly to Washington for a meeting" (She just flew-in from the Baltimore-Washington DC area to be with him) but that "he'll be back" and he "got her the best hotel suite in the city."  Hmmm...

When Montana calls her friend Gail back home, Gail smell a rat ... and of course Gail's right.  Turns out Graham is married and wanted a girlfriend waiting for him "in the best hotel suite in the city" in case he got tired of spending Thanksgiving with his pregnant wife at home ... Men can be really slimy jerks...

So Montana returns home from Thanksgiving without a ring and in something of a panic as she thinks she's just gonna _die_ if she, as her little sister's "maid of honor," doesn't have a date for her littler sister's Engagement party sometime just after the New Year.  What to do?

That's when Sam, her other flight attendant BFF, comes up with a plan: As a flight attendant, Montana's gone out with all kinds of interesting, eligible men over the years.  Sure most of them turned out to be jerks BUT "that was then" maybe one or two of them "changed" since then.  And since she's a flight attendant with friends across the industry, it should not be hard for her friends (in reservations, at the check-in counters, heck even at the TSA check-points) to let her know when said past boyfriends would be traveling so that she could "just happen to run into them" again -- on a flight "between LA and Houston" or "Atlanta and New York", etc (Okay, IT'S KINDA CORNY ... BUT IT'S A ROM-COM.  ROM-COMS ARE GENERALLY KINDA CORNY ;-)

So during much of the rest of the movie, we get to see Montana "just happen to run into" one former schmuck after another and, surprise, surprise, most of the former schmucks turn out to continue to remain schmucks... BUT there's ALSO another guy, named William WRIGHT (played by Derek Luke) who doesn't travel at all, who's actually her neighbor back in Baltimore, who she actually knew all her life and went to school with, who's just RIGHT THERE, ALL THE TIME ... ;-).  Well you figure it out ;-) ;-)

Rom-coms have to END WELL.  So ... YES the I return to the obvious observation that the story's "kinda corny" ... BUT it's also kinda cute/endearing ;-).  And I do agree with the CNS/USCCB reviewer that while, yes, the film continues to suggest that extra-marital sex between SOs is "okay" (and we in the Church would, of course, "beg to differ") all things considered, this rom-com is actually quite good and has a nice modest message: You don't have to be a jet-setter (or rich or "important") to be happy ... Montana learns that and perhaps many viewers will appreciate that message as well ;-)

<< NOTE - Do you like what you've been reading here?  If you do then consider giving a small donation to this Blog (sugg. $6 _non-recurring_) _every so often_ to continue/further its operation.  To donate just CLICK HERE.  Thank you! :-) >>   

No comments:

Post a Comment