Movie review: Baggage Claim

05:00 AM, Sep 28, 2013

Taye Diggs, left, and Paula Patton in a scene from 'Baggage Claim.' (The Associated Press)/


Written By Bill Goodykoontz | Gannett Chief Film Critic

It’s nice to see Paula Patton, who has done good supporting work in such films as Precious and Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol get a chance to star in a movie.

It’s just a shame that it’s one as bad as Baggage Claim, writer and director David E. Talbert’s tone-deaf throwback romantic comedy that takes the bold position that women aren’t truly fulfilled unless they’re on the arm of a good husband, a notion that’s been ridiculous since cavemen stopped dragging women around by the hair.

Oh, there’s a bit thrown in at the end that tries to undo the damage, but it’s way too little, way too late. The checks cash the same either way, but Patton is better than this.

She plays Montana Moore, a flight attendant who is in danger of never getting married. Yes, danger —in her family, at least, which is led by disapproving matriarch Catherine (Jenifer Lewis), who has been married five times herself. This makes her an expert, she figures, and when Montana’s younger sister Sheree (Lauren London) announces her engagement, the pressure on Montana to marry is increased.

Montana gives herself 30 days to find a fiance. Her flight-attendant friends Gail (Jill Scott) and Sam (Adam Brody) come up with a plan to find her a man: Using contacts in ticketing, baggage claim, etc., they’ll find out when her ex-boyfriends are flying and where, and make sure Montana is working the flight. With luck, she’ll make a connection. Get it? Get it? Airline humor. Ha! It’s a killer.

Or maybe it’s just deadly.

So she goes through a hip-hop artist (Tremaine Neverson), a would-be U.S. Congressman (Taye Diggs, in a colossal waste of his talent and charm) and a hugely successful businessman (Djimon Hounsou). But none of them really GET her.

The only man who does is William (Derek Luke), her neighbor down the hall, but he’s weighed down with a bad-news girlfriend (Christina Miller). If only there were some way Montana and William could see what the rest of us see from the first time we see them together.

Eh, it’s all wasted opportunities. Diggs is a terrific actor, and here he could have had a ball playing a black Republican scheming his way into office. But Talbert’s script doesn’t have any bite; instead we just get the cliched jokes you’d expect.

That said, Diggs does what he can with the part, as does Patton. There are some funny moments, because most of the cast is so charming. But not enough to make up for the Stone Age attitude about women and marriage. Yes, Talbert is ultimately trying to skewer that attitude. He just doesn’t do a very good job of it.