Montana Moore (Paula Patton) has always been told, by her mother, that to be married by the age of 30 will make her a lady. When her little sister announces her impending nuptials, Montana flies into a spiral of panic, knowing that she cannot turn up to the wedding single. Montana and her friends Gail (Jill Scott) and Sam (Adam Brody) come up with a plan, using their work as flight attendants, to reconnect Montana with her lost loves around the holidays, and find her a husband for the wedding.
If you have got this far into this review and found yourself utterly perplexed by the daftness of Baggage Claim’s plot, then you are not alone. Surely if Montana’s relationships with these men did not work out, then there was a reason for that? I know, I know. This does not seem to matter in the world of Baggage Claim, and over thinking it will make your head hurt, so let’s just drop this particular gripe, right here.
As a single woman in her 30s, I resent the implication that I am not a ‘lady’ because I am not married. Then again, what does Montana’s mother – played by Jenifer Lewis – know? She is on her fifth marriage! Still, if the image of perfection that is Paula Patton cannot find herself a M.A.N, it seems there is little hope for any of us. Does anyone know where I can get a cat?
We already know that Patton can act, but in Baggage Claim, it seems that she has taken lessons from the Sex and the City 2 school of acting. Every emotion that flickers across her beautiful face feels forced and strained. The rest of the cast is made up of the best of African American talent; Taye Diggs turns up as a politician who has more respect for his dog than he does for women, Trey Songz plays a man trying to impress Montana with a life that is not his, and Derek Luke plays he ever-so-faithful next door neighbour. Djimon Hounsou is just about the only character that treats Montana with respect, but if course, she does not want him. It seems, for a while, that Jill Scott is going to play the wisecracking best friend, but Gail soon descends into sluttiness and not much else. Adam Brody plays the wisecracking minority best friend, to not much avail.
As a character, Montana is one that would drive any woman to frustration; why in the name of all that is good and holy, does this woman insist on defining herself by her relationships? Yes, this is on her mother’s advice, but it does not seem that Montana gets on particularly well with her mother. Oh, did I mention that this matriarch has been married FIVE TIMES!? GAH! Montana finds herself in situations that go from the ridiculous to the even more ridiculous, as Baggage Claim seems intent on trampling all over everything that the Suffragettes strived for. The dialogue in the film is painful, and the speechifying at the end combines all the worst parts of any end of movie speech that you could care to name.
Baggage Claim is a movie so terrible that it is hard to imagine that it was made with anything other than evil intentions. Baggage Claim is a badly acted, badly directed, ill conceived movie that sets back women’s lib by about 100 years.