Review by Tres
So Wednesday was my wife’s and my anniversary and traditionally we do a dinner and a movie. (I’m boring.) Most Octobers I have a few good choices for romance movies or romantic comedies. This year… EXCEPTION. There are 2 highly recommended dramas out right now, but the only comedy we could find was Baggage Claim.
Seldom do I put a lot of faith is critics’ reviews (they rate this as pretty bad) and sometimes I will go to IMDb to view viewers comments ( 50/50 was the reaction there), so I bit the bullet and made the decision and we walked into Baggage Claim.
I had 2 major issues with this film: 1) Paula Patton and 2) Terrence Jenkins.
Paula Patton’s acting ability remarks in the movie world are 50/50 just like the reviews of this film. I personally think she is a decent actress. She’s easy on the eyes. On top of that, she’s willing to get physical and do the “over the top” physical aspects that some of the scenes in this movie required. What is my issue then? Her voice! It sounds like she swallowed gravel or something.
My other issue is Terrence Jenkins. Though he’s been a supporting actor in several things that I have seen, he did one of the worst acting moments during the wedding rehearsal dinner that I have seen in a movie in a long time. Watch it and I promise you will agree.
With that said, know that I am not a movie critic. I do not get paid for doing these fantastic reviews that I write for our blog. Few people hang on every word that I say. I AM a movie buff though; owning 500+ DVDs in my collection. I write here, as documentation and evidence, and putting my reputation on the lines as I did with my “guilty pleasure” movie and state for all the world to see…
I liked Baggage Claim.
The whole premise is that Montana/Mo (Paula Patton) is a stewardess looking for love. She has been seeing a guy for a few months and he’s invited her to his place for a holiday weekend. He speaks softly all of those sweet words that she…and many other women…want to hear. However, when something seems too good too quick, it usually is. He’s a dog! She spies on him, one of the first funny scenes where Paula proves her dedication to her performance by climbing into a trash can, and discovers he’s married…AND… his wife is expecting. DOG!
When Mo arrives back home, she finds out her kid sister is getting married. Enters Catherine (Jennifer Lewis), Mo’s 5 time married and overly involved mother. She is concerned for Mo, since she’s “old” and has no marriage prospects. Then comes the big lie: Mo tells her mom that she is indeed bringing someone and making a special announcement.
That leads us to the action of most of the movie. Mo’s 2 best friends and fellow flight attendants, Gail (Jill Scott) and Sam (Adam Brody), come up with a plan to track all of her old boyfriends through the airport system and send Mo flying across country every few days for “chance encounters” with old flames. The concept is that one of them has to have grown up and become something better.
Gail, who is a promiscuous and flirtatious character, and Sam, a gay romantic, provide a great deal of comedy throughout the movie. The plan is enacted, and off she goes.
The journey takes her to many places and introduces her to many men that once again present themselves to be something than what they are just hoping to land her as their catch. One such old flame is Langston played by Taye Diggs. I have enjoyed Taye in many roles through the past few years from movies to musicals to television. He is a solid actor and his roll as Langston was strong in this movie as well. He plays a man that likes to lead and wants some arm candy that will be behind him as he seeks political office. He pulls off the “traditional” male that portrays the “honor and obey” expecting husband aspect. The part of his character that I appreciated the most was when he was seeking his political finance backing from Donaldson (Ned Beatty) [whom I can’t see in a movie without thinking of Superman and hearing banjos]. Langston is being encouraged to help “his people” by Donaldson. Langston is irritated by this and he comes back with “by people, I assume you mean the American people”. There is a banter back and forth, but I appreciated his conversation being placed in this movie.
Throughout all of this, these trips, and these heartaches, her neighbor across the hall, William Wright (Derek Lukes) is there to support her. In fact, he has been there supporting her as a true friend since age of 5. They were best friends through grade-school, junior high, and even went to prom together in high school. Derek’s acting in this roll really impressed me. He usually plays an athlete with an edge, or in dramas and has an edge, or even Puffy Combs where he’s just edgy. Here, he played a roll that was much softer and more genuine than I can remember him attempting before. There is a playful side and a genuine caring aspect that he brought forth. Though it takes them both awhile in life, Mr. Wright decides that’s actually exactly who he is: Mo’s Mr. Wright. One of the key statements that William makes is when he is talking to Mo about his parents who were blessed with 40 years of marriage together, “The magic isn’t in getting married, it’s in the staying married.” (I say Amen!)
As the movie winds down Mo is in a conflict: in her trips she met Quinton (Djimon Hounsou). Quinton is a romantic and a gentleman. He is genuine in what he offers Mo: romance, gifts, trips, and the finest of everything. Being up front with her though, he tells her there will never be anything more: excitement, but no commitment. Quinton promises to meet her at the rehearsal dinner and she can tell him if she is willing to go with him and live in the life of luxury with no commitment of a future together, or she can turn him down. He is accepting of either decision.
I look at people today and I see so many looking and searching for something, just like Montana was. They get involved with so many things to try to find an inner peace: exercise, yoga, meditation, and even different religions. So many people today want to have that “feel good feeling” when they leave a church building. Many people don’t want to hear about what they are doing wrong that is a sin in God’s eyes. They go on these personal journeys then, emotional journeys, spiritual journeys, mental journeys, to find what they are looking for. However, the majority don’t realize that inner peace and happiness is much more simple and usually right in front of them. In John 14:6 Jesus tells us “I am the way and the truth and the life.” Sadly, some people don’t want to follow Jesus, or think that he’s old fashioned, or think that his commandments are hard, or think that his rebuking of sin is too broad or difficult, or sadly, think that he is there to save them no matter how they live their life. William’s character was the later. He was there for Mo when she needed him, but he was not even considered as the one thing that could fulfill her peace.
The movie ends with a little pretty bow all tied up into one complete package: exactly how I knew it would 5 minutes into the film. Montana makes a decision. Her sister makes a decision. Her mother makes a decision. And William makes a decision. There’s the simple, happily ever after ending, which if we are honest, most of us want to see.
So how do I rate this movie?
Well, there isn’t a lot of suspense in the movie: I knew how it was going to end in the first 5 minutes. For me, that marks down a rating by one star automatically.
The next thing I consider is if I would go out and purchase this when it becomes a new release? No, I wouldn’t. Maybe from a $5 bin a year or two down the road, but I’m not going to anxiously await that Tuesday morning when it’s put on the shelf. Down another star.
My third criteria I go through, would I take the time and sit through this again? I sure would. It’s full of laughs. The acting is strong: Derek Luke gives a truly genuine performance and Paula Patton, getting pass the voice, pulled the intensity and humor off with her roll.
So, 3 stars it is!
If you’re really wanting to see a romantic comedy in the theatres, this is not a waste of your money. If you’re just wanting to see a movie, I would say, spend it on Gravity or Captain Phillips and rent this one when it comes out., However, I would suggest watching it. It’s worth it. Just leave the baggage of what the critics are saying about it at the door and watch it for what it is. I feel good romantic comedy with a happily ever after.