Baggage Claim teeter totters between your usual romantic comedy and trying to stand out a bit. The end product though has it be the usual rom-com, but with a black cast.
Honestly, films like these I solely go see because they have a black majority casts, and they don’t require trekking to a little theater in NYC which is hard to get to. But, while I like most of the people in the casts, no one in the film really has that name which on its own makes this a go to. The film features a lot of B-list celebrities known for their supporting roles in other features, be it Paula Patton’s Mission Impossible role, or everyone else’s role in some black film or TV shows you saw a while ago. Still, surprisingly they make for a good mix and bring in quite a few laughs.
To begin, we have Paula Patton’s character Montana, who really is this sort of generic Reese Witherspoon type lead, with a tan. We follow her as she goes from man to man doing what her mom, Catherine (Jenifer Lewis), has done since her first husband died, minus marrying them. You see, like Catherine, Montana is searching for any semblance of love she can find and while she isn’t as bad off as Barbara in Don Jon when it comes to her perception of romance, she does seem to be very much invested in the idea of the white picket fence dream where she has a husband, two kids and etc. Thing is, she is a flight attendant and doesn’t have the best taste in men.
Most of the movie in fact deals with her remembering why she broke up with a lot of guys she has met. All of this is done through stalking the men, something usually guys do in films like this, and as you watch her remember why she isn’t still with some of those guys, this leads to the comedic side of this romantic comedy. We begin with Graham (Boris Kodjoe) who has Montana as a mistress; Damon Diesel (Trey Songz) who maybe renowned, but relies on being Tia Mowry’s mistress to get by; Taye Diggs’ Langston is a Black Republican, which naturally means he is made to look bad; then you have Djimon Hounsou who plays a man named Quinton whose only issue is that he doesn’t want to get married.
Now, there is one man I didn’t mention and it is because I sort of liked and hated the relationship. Mr. William Wright (played by Derek Luke) I liked for his and Montana’s relationship had 25+ years on it. They knew each other since elementary school and grew up together; went to prom together, though he with another date who left because she was jealous of Montana; and now they live across the hall from one another and have a bond which for most of the movie borders between brother and sister or potential lovers. Their relationship aside though, I must also praise Jill Scott. Those who know of Jill Scott know that she comes off very earthy and sweet, but her music is sometimes as naughty as you can get without getting a parental advisory label. In this film though, though she still maintains that sweetness most fans of her know, but she lets her sexy side out and is flirtatious, comical and for most of the movie seems to be one of the few with any type of sense despite how silly, and perhaps ghetto, she may seem. Let me also say, damn near the whole casts deliver at least one funny moment per character and, in Scott’s case, sometimes per scene.
Which leads to me talking about the issues with this film. Personally, while Patton is cute, I just don’t find her appealing as a lead since she doesn’t make you feel attached, or perhaps it is better to say sympathetic, to Montana. The reason for this is, Montana seems to be in that weird mindset where she needs to have her life set by 30 and acts like without being married, or having the potential to get married, she isn’t loved. We see this with how she handles Quinton who she has a conversation with all through the evening to the next morning, has everything she wants, but she can’t deal with him not wanting to be married. Also, I am the type of person who likes seeing male and female friendships which can be platonic and though you from the start see William and Montana are end-game, you also wish that perhaps they could just be good friends and that is it. Most of all though, I have to say that while as a romantic comedy it was a decent movie, I just wish stalking would stop being a staple of these movies for that is how she finds all the men mentioned, outside of William. She has her co-workers find their flights and then rushes to get on them to “accidently,” tee hee, pop up and reacquaint herself with the various men.
Overall: Either see it at Matinée prices or rent it
There is really no need to rush to see this movie. This is nowhere near the level of the Black romantic movies of the 90s/early 00s, and it isn’t funny enough to make that a selling point either. And while I do like some of the points made dealing with how Montana is as much looking for love as stability, and how her mom, through 5 marriages, has always been trying to relive her first love, as a whole I don’t think I would call this the type of movie I would want to pay all that much to see. It, in essence, is average and doesn’t try new things or even explore the topic of African-Americans in relationships. It basically uses the standard formula of looking for love in all the wrong places, when the guy you need is right in front of you, but this time around there is a Black majority casts.