Director David E. Talbert made a film called First Sunday in 2008. Apparently I watched this movie, and even wrote a few hundred words about it, but I’ll be damned if I can remember a single scene from it. If there’s any justice in this world, I’ll forget about Talbert’s latest offering, Baggage Claim, even quicker. Judging from what I wrote about First Sunday, Talbert hasn’t exactly advanced as a filmmaker. At heart, Baggage Claim has a good message about one woman’s (Paula Patton) senseless urge to jump into marriage. Unfortunately, Talbert is still clueless on how to properly tell a story. If anything, he’s regressed as a director, since Baggage Claim has basic cable-level production values, and a camera that’s bolted to the floor. Add this to the film’s standard rom-com storyline, and you have a 95-minute cinematic lobotomy of mind-melting mediocrity.
The plot is dime-novel junk, with Patton playing Montana, a flight attendant who’s had difficulty finding Mr. Right. When her much younger sister (Lauren London) becomes engaged, Montana decides to find a man, by any means necessary, before her sister’s wedding date. So, with the help of her co-workers (Jill Scott and Adam Brody uncomfortably camping it up as the film’s gay accessory), she concocts a plan to ambush old boyfriends on their various flights, efficiently maximizing the film’s aptitude for plot contrivances. Even worse, it takes the movie about 20 minutes for the story to kick in, as we have to waste time detouring through Montana’s doomed relationship with her seemingly perfect man (Boris Kodjoe, Resident Evil: Retribution), culminating in the most awkward, unintentionally least sexy sex scene of the year. Of course, none of this matters, since it’s obvious that Montana’s going to end up with her old friend and all-around nice guy William (Derek Luke) from his first moment on screen.
Baggage Claim’s most depressing aspect is all the talent it wastes. Patton, Luke, Scott and Djimon Hounsou have all done better work and deserve better movie roles in the future. It’s a shame they’re stuck with this kind of pap, and it’s a comment on the difficulty talented black actors have in getting quality roles. Unfortunately, this doesn’t excuse the movie, just makes it more frustrating to watch. It’s a sad state when a film filled with truly talented, charming performers is this awful. Rated PG-13 for sexual content and some language.
Playing at Carmike 10