Baggage Claim

baggage claim

When your best friend since elementary school lives across the hall, hangs out with you at dress fittings, drives an hour in the middle of the night to pick you up after you’ve been jilted, and looks like Derek Luke, he’s clearly Mr. Right. Or in this case, Mr. Wright. But that doesn’t register for Montana Moore (Paula Patton), a flight attendant who’s pushing thirty and eager to get married. Her mother (Jenifer Lewis), a serial bride, takes a page from the Chinese playbook and insists that a woman’s not a lady until she’s a missus and not a, well, woman, until she’s had kids, all best accomplished in one’s twenties.

Montana’s just ended a relationship with Graham, so she has no immediate plans for marriage. (As an aside, Graham is played by Boris Kodjoe and looks so perfect that his undressing must be shown in slow motion close-up.) But when her younger sister (Lauren London) decides to get hitched, her pursuit of The One shifts into high gear lest she show up single at the engagement party one month away.

Patton is nice, too nice. Montana is relentlessly kind and forgiving and responds to everything – compliments from friends, her mother’s nagging, veiled sexism from an ex, multiple marriage proposals – with sweet, sympathetic sighs, like she’s permanently overtaken by cute kitty pictures. There’s little reason to dislike her, but there’s also little that makes her story a compelling one, even by romantic comedy standards.

After she sets herself a deadline, her best friends (Jill Scott and Adam Brody) devise a wacky plan to sync her flight schedule up with those of her high-flying former boyfriends. Since it’s also Christmastime, their scheming takes on added urgency, though the film itself fails to capitalize on the warm holiday feels. Montana’s friends hope that a mid-air meeting will rekindle at least one of the relationships in time for the party. Some of these old flames (Taye Diggs, Trey Songz, Djimon Hounsou) turn out to be as flawed as they are good looking, and Montana isn’t so generous that she’d commit herself to a man who doesn’t know her worth.

The best romances, however, are not about perfect people finding each other but, as in real life, two imperfect people coming together and making something better. The film offers little of that and instead coasts from one romantic prospect to another. The men are so unevenly matched against Montana that you just want someone to call time, send in Mr. Wright, and let the couple enjoy a warm Christmas together.

Released: 2013
Prod: David E. Talbert, Steven J. Wolfe
Dir: David E. Talbert
Writer: David E. Talbert
Cast: Paula Patton, Derek Luke, Jenifer Lewis, Jill Scott, Adam Brody, Taye Diggs, Boris Kodjoe, Trey Songz, Djimon Hounsou, Christina Milian, Lauren London, Tia Mowry-Hardrict, La La Anthony
Time: 96 min
Lang: English
Country: United States
Reviewed: 2015