“Baggage Claim” is a film that is worth the price of the ticket and then some. It’s rare when Aggies in the Brazos Valley can get a new release of an off-mainstream film quickly. But Bryan’s Premiere Cinemas was smart enough to snag the film, which premiered Fri., Oct. 4 in Bryan.
Paula Patton is Montana Moore, a model-gorgeous, kind, intelligent flight attendant. Derek Luke is William Wright, her best friend since high school, a successful construction engineer who happens to live across the hall from Montana with his hyperjealous girlfriend. The story guides you as they navigate around each other, and a lot of other people, in search of true love, underscored by Patton’s primary goal, which is transatlantic race to find a fiance before her youngest sister’s wedding.
With an outstanding cast and a script that moves quickly along a predictable but entirely pleasant path, there’s every reason to encourage you to make sure you catch this film, and get tickets early because the theatres have been more than full, an uplifting situation when you compare the competition featuring kidnapping, terror, screams of fear, lots of dead bodies and a zombie or two.
It really doesn’t matter if you think you know the script, or you’ve seen the plot as a familiar rom-com, or if you don’t know the names of many of the supporting cast. The point is that David E. Talbert as writer and director has crafted a hilarious series of episodes that ring all too familiar for marriage-aged females to define success by the presence of a wedding ring and husband to go with it. His wife, Lyn, is executive producer of this film, and it's great to see a husband and wife team at work on such a great product.
Patton has been on film and television screens for eight years, and she’s been in box office comedies “Hitch,” and “Just Wright” along with “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol,” with rumors she’ll also be in the fifth Mission Impossible, currently in development.
Derek Luke is one of the best and brightest young actors who has had recurring roles in two television series (“Hawthorne” and “Trauma”) plus this year’s “The Americans” seires. But Luke first came to movie notice starring opposite Denzel Washington in 2002’s “Antwone Fisher.” He followed those with roles in “Lions for Lambs,” “Definitely, Maybe,” “Madea Goes to Jail,” “Captain America,” and “Sparkle.” We forgive him for appearing in “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World.”
The plot centers on a well-meaning but entirely overbearing, multimarried mother, Catherine, properly played by Jenifer Lewis, harping (and harping) on her eldest daughter Montana (Patton) on the need for her to find a spouse—fast. The occasion of the rehearsal dinner for Catherine’s youngest daughter’s wedding to a college sophomore football standout who has produced a two-carat diamond for his betrothed is set as the benchmark to point out to Montana that she is aging, her chances growing worse by the day, and the pressure is on to shut Mama up.
With thirty days to find a fiance, or at least a date for the rehearsal dinner, Montana is fortunate to have two fun friends and fellow flight attendants, best friend, Gail (Jill Scott), and other best friend, Sam (Adam Brody). The team of Transatlantic Airways that’s home-based in Washington, DC, is called into action as Sam and Gail devise a plan to help put Montana in front of every single former date in her iPhone and all Montana has to do is to be at the airport, flight bag and ID in hand, and presto, an open seat next to the prospects is available, and it’s hers.
There was a reason she did not continue seeing a stream of handsome, intelligent, successful, eloquent men and Talbert’s script is such a refreshing portrayal of single men under 40 whose language does not include any foul words. Not one. You won’t hear one.
The film’s PG-13 rating is not for language. The obligatory adult scenes are few and far between, they move fast, and the story quickly returns to the dialogue and airport scenes, which are absolutely hilarious. One standout character to watch for is Cedric (played by Affion Crockett), the TSA Security guard. “I have no life so I have unlimited time to ruin yours today,” he says, and he means it.
The scenario is not that uncommon for bright young women who opted first for careers after college, rather than or instead of early marriage. No matter your level of career successes, the previous generation will always assign success as “having it all.” Monique is hardly an old maid at 30, but her mother Catherine says otherwise, every time she bursts into Monique's apartment with her key, unannounced.
Acclaimed actors Taye Diggs and Ned Beatty add star power to the project, but Diggs' character is not the one that filmgoers are used to seeing (don't expect the hunky beach buddy because there's no Stella and no getting her groove back). Also, Beatty is his familiar fumbling, bumbling, blustering power broker full of stereotypical stupidity. You won't like the characters convincingly played by either actor. It's nice to see Tia Mowery-Hardrict, all grown up (elegantly so) from her Disney series with her twin sister, Tamera (Tia and Tamera), proof positive that the Disney system can still work well for (many) generation Y's.
Check out the movie and experience an uplifting, clever and positive movie experience that brings credit to everyone who is in the film. Fox Searchlight Pictures executives should read whatever script David Talbert puts in front of them next. It’s sure to be another winner. Whether or not you’re a frequent flier, go see “Baggage Claim”—you’ll be glad you did.