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REVIEW

Baggage Claim

By DAN LYBARGER SPECIAL TO THE DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE

This article was published September 27, 2013 at 3:41 a.m.

adam-brody-as-ausamau-paula-patton-as-aumontana-mooreau-and-jill-scott-as-gailau-in-baggage-claim

Adam Brody as “Sam,” Paula Patton as “Montana Moore” and Jill Scott as Gail” in BAGGAGE CLAIM.

Baggage Claim is less an enchanting getaway and more a monotonous commuter flight. Neither the destination nor the journey is much fun. Despite the lack of turbulence, this weak-witted comedy is only slightly more pleasant than a TSA search.

The script and the source novel are credited to playwright David E. Talbert, who also directed.Nonetheless, the movie feels as if someone cut and pasted scenes from What’s Your Number? and 27 Dresses. A little recycling is to be expected in rom-coms, but penning it on tracing paper is going too far. Furthermore, couldn’t Talbert have had the decency of plundering good romantic comedies instead of regrettable ones like these?

Somebody needs to show Talbert at least one of Ernst Lubitsch’s or Nicole Holofcener’s movies. Both of these folks have made viewers feel mushy inside without insulting their intelligence. (And if those names don’t ring a bell, skip reading the rest of this review and rent one of their films instead.)

At least the genial presence of Paula Patton almost compensates for the fact that she’s got such a thankless leading role. As flight attendant Montana Moore, she has to play the sort of heroine whose life is a mess simply because she hasn’t found the perfect mate before she has turned 30. Because of her domineering and serially married mother (Jenifer Lewis), Montana is feeling extra pressure because her youngest sister (Lauren London) is getting ready to tie the knot.

It may be humiliating to be an eternal bridesmaid. Considering all the terrible fates one could have that are indeed worse than being single after 30 (oh, try rotting in prison for a crime you didn’t commit), it takes all the charm Patton and hercast mates can muster to get through the opening minutes, much less the rest of the movie.

Montana’s bawdy co-workers Gail (Jill Scott) and Sam (Adam Brody) decide the best course of action is to pair her up with a series of her exes to find if any have changed their ways. This plan might offer hope because Damon (Trey Songz) is now a popular singer, Langston (Taye Diggs) is a congressional candidate and Quinton (Djimon Hounsou) is flush with cash and culture.

Curiously, she’s ignoring her neighbor and childhood chum William Wright (Derek Luke). It’s not a spoiler to reveal that her cross-country treks are a waste of time when Mr. Wright is living across the hall from her apartment. While Luke has enough earnestness to emerge with his dignity intact, most of the other roles are shallow and one-note. None of these people would be believable on a sitcom, much less on the big screen.

There’s nothing wrong with providing light entertainment. Sadly, there’s a difference between light and anemic. Without a little imagination, heart or wit, Baggage Claim never gets off the tarmac.

Baggage Claim 70 Cast: Paula Patton, Taye Diggs, Jill Scott, Djimon Hounsou, Christina Milian, Tia Mowry-Hardrict, Trey Songz, Adam Brody, Derek Luke, Lauren London, Boris Kodjoe, Jenifer Lewis Director: David E. Talbert Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual content and some language Running time: 96 minutes

MovieStyle, Pages 31 on 09/27/2013

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