'Baggage Claim' Review: Terrible Comedy Looks Down on Black Republicans and Audiences Alike
When packing for a major trip, travelers usually fill their suitcases with an eclectic mix of goods. Items of clothing are shoved into pieces of luggage alongside toiletries, books, possibly a computer and other miscellaneous things.
All in all, the baggage consists of an assortment of items picked up from around a person’s home. The new comedy Baggage Claim feels like a similar concoction of disparate parts. Instead of offering up anything original though, this story gives us a variety of inane plot devices borrowed from one romantic comedy or another as well as some Republican bashing.
Paula Patton stars as Montana Moore, a single woman in her 30s looking for the right man to marry. Her mother (Jennifer Lewis) has been married five times and--being such a believer in the sacred sacrament--can’t wait for her daughter to take the leap. So there’s a nagging mother here— a stereotypical role, of course--but Montana also has two other clichéd characters dropped in from better films. There’s the female best friend Gail (Jill Scott) and the gay male best friend Sam (played by a slumming Adam Brody in a thankless role).
There’s also Montana’s closest childhood friend whose name is William Right. Oh, I’m sorry. His last name is really “Wright.” The script is very subtle about these things, of course, so I should be too.
Montana is a flight attendant whose youngest sister is about to tie the knot. Montana is a bridesmaid, of course, as she has been countless times before--doesn't this sound like the plot of 27 Dresses?--and she’s looking to reconnect with her future husband. Her friends Gail and Sam concoct a plan setting it up so that Montana is booked on the same flights as all of her ex-boyfriends. That way, she’ll have a shot with one of them.
Sounds interesting, right? Of course not.
The script plods along showing Montana discovering the flaws in her past relationships. One of her former suitors is now gay (who expected that!). Another one appears perfect on paper but looks down on marriage after two failed ones. Another one is a control freak running for Congress who treats Montana like a prop at dinner with two wealthy donors. He’s also a Republican. And in the most cringe-worthy line of a cringe-worthy bad film, Montana rejects this ex-boyfriend saying “I don’t trust black Republicans. I’m sorry.”
So will audiences be if they shell out money for this gimmicky show. David E. Talbert, who wrote and directed this movie (based off his own novel), offers up here one of the year’s most creatively-inert flicks of the year. There are times when I laughed at a random line here or there so it’s not one of the year’s worst, but audiences deserve better than a movie that simply replicates clichés from other movies, ties them in a neat package with a few solid actors and then says it's something new. It's not. We've seen all of this before.
When valuable luggage is lost, owners often complain about it to the airliners. If this movie is lost, no one will know the difference.