Paula Patton seeks both independence and a man in ‘Baggage Claim’

Paula Patton (center) travels all over the country to meet exes in "Baggage Claim." Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures
Paula Patton (center) travels all over the country to meet exes in “Baggage Claim.”
Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

‘Baggage Claim’
Director: David E. Talbert
Stars: Paula Patton, Derek Luke
Rating: PG-13
2 (out of 5) Globes

Like madman mogul Tyler Perry, David E. Talbert became a phenomenon entirely under the radar of white audiences, helming more than a dozen blockbuster productions on the traveling urban theatre circuit before branching out into movies. But the similarities end there, as Talbert’s is a much saner, mainstream sensibility of more swag and less drag. “Baggage Claim,” which Talbert adapted for the screen from his own 2003 novel, dutifully assembles crowd-pleasing cliches and chick-lit tropes as if following instructions from an IKEA rom-com catalog.

Paula Patton stars as Montana Moore, a flight attendant rapidly advancing into her decrepit early thirties without yet having found a husband. This is no small concern to her mother (Jenifer Lewis), who claims you can’t call yourself a lady unless you’ve got a man. The impending nuptials of Montana’s kid sister provide an arbitrary ticking clock structure, with our heroine giving herself thirty days to settle down and live happily ever after.

The harebrained scheme that follows — aided and abetted by a de rigueur blowsy, oversexed sidekick (a very funny Jill Scott) and contractually obligated gay BFF (sassy Adam Brody) — involves Montana rearranging her work schedule so she’ll “accidentally” bump into her old ex-boyfriends on cross-country flights, checking to see if any of these frogs she’s kissed happen to have turned into princes over the ensuing years.

Of course this is a terrible plan, reminding Montana why she dumped all these dudes in the first place. There’s an amusing turn from Taye Diggs as a black Republican wired too tight, and an odd interlude with millionaire Djimon Hounsou that feels included simply to supply the genre’s required ration of lavish lifestyle porn. Each disastrous encounter inevitably ends with hunky next door neighbor William Wright (Derek Luke) riding in to Montana’s rescue time and again. If there’s any doubt as to where all this is headed, check out his last name.

A statuesque beauty though she may be, Paula Patton has always seemed slightly uncomfortable in her own skin, a sensation amplified here by Talbert’s wobbly direction and often bizarre scene transitions. Paying hypocritical lip service to progressive gender politics, “Baggage Claim” turns out to be one of those movies where the woman gets to deliver a big speech about how she doesn’t need a man in order to define herself, while Mr. Wright is waiting in the wings all the same.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

Local

Oval oasis: Summer of fun kicks off this…

A bold partnership between the Fairmount Park Conservancy and the city's Parks and Recreation Department is kicking off this weekend with family activities re-activating this unused public space.

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

MLB

Jimmy Rollins is key to Phillies success

When John Kruk was asked about what the Phillies need to contend for a playoff berth, the ESPN analyst said Jimmy Rollins needs to play like a MVP again.

MLB

Ben Revere lifts Phillies to avoid sweep

Ben Revere came through with a two-out RBI single against Atlanta’s tough lefthander Alex Wood.

NBA

Season wrap: 76ers make the grade

The 76ers opened the 2013-14 season with a victory over the Miami Heat. The Sixers closed the season with a win at Miami.

NBA

Fantasy basketball: Finding next year's NBA studs

Before we put the 2013-14 fantasy basketball season to bed, it’s worth thinking about next year’s breakouts while they’re fresh in our mind.

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.