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Review: David E. Talbert’s Romantic Comedy 'Baggage Claim'

by Masha Dowell
September 27, 2013 4:29 PM
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David E. Talbert’s Baggage Claim begins with a look at the life of lonely flight attendant Montana Moore. 

Like many modern day singles, her relationship status does not dictate her actual self esteem. Well, that is until Montana is confronted with the news that her younger sister (played by Lauren London) is getting married. This situation ignites a primal urge in Montana to change her single status immediately! And her goal? To find a suitable mate. 

To assist her on this journey are a slew of unsuitable mates, played brilliantly by Boris Kodjoe, Taye Diggs, Trey Songs, and more, as well as those that help her reach her goal - her two extremely funny coworkers Jill Scott an Adam Brody, and her understanding neighbor William, played by Derek Luke.

The actual journey that Montana makes to get to a place of love is what I liked most about the film. I’m single, and my own path to love has been a comedic journey. At times it's been rather sad; and at other times it's been clad with laughter. It's ever changing, although this may sound cliche; self love is the true start of any romance. The film does not really go that deep into the exploration of self love, but it does explore the choices that we all can make to push love right along; if that’s what we desire.

The film does not miss a beat with the placement of pivotal characters. Its antagonist is Montana’s mother; played by Jennifer Lewis. At times, throughout the film, it appears as though Montana cares more about her mother’s opinion of her being single, than actually finding a mate. Her mother has such a strong opinion of love and relationships; and this scares and slightly intimidates Montana. 

Many of us care so much about what our parents think about our mate selection; but we never openly discuss it. I even believe that parents should assist their children in marrying well; but that’s a different article. Now, Montana’s mother does not help her find a mate in this film; but their actual mother-daughter love journey of understanding each other is explored on screen.

There are many times during the film that you will laugh; and at times you will be sad for Montana. The key lesson or message that I took from this film is that we all have the ability to make a decision to experience the type of relationships that we ultimately desire. We all don't desire the same type of mates; and that is the journey; sorting through the "baggage" that is not ours, and claiming what is.

Fox Searchlight opens Baggage Claim in theaters today.

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More: David E. Talbert, Paula Patton

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  • tasheeyann | October 16, 2013 4:01 AMReply

    this is not very funny... if u would like to see the funny parts of this movie u may just watch the trailer

  • dee | September 29, 2013 10:28 PMReply

    I thought this was a very cute movie. It was actually better than what I had expected.

  • Rel | September 29, 2013 5:45 PMReply

    Im pretty sure this film sucks, but there's no need for personal attacks. With that being said I'll be skipping Baggage Claim in favor o Blue Caprice this weekend

  • CareyCarey | September 29, 2013 12:48 PMReply

    This movie received an A- Cinemascore, so obviously Masha is not alone.

    Masha, I am sorry for causing a slight brouhaha in your post (btw, some of the comments under my name were not written by me) but I had to come back with a few words of encouragement... that is, do not be deterred.

    As you probably well know, you'll never be able to please the hecklers, jecklers, naysayers and haters of the world, so keep your eye on your prize and do yo' thang. But having said that, I've noticed the responses of other writers, filmmakers, directors, etc, who have faced similar attacks from the pessimist crowd.

    Sometimes, in their own way, they've had to address their detractors to get themselves some. Whether in a fiery rebuttal or a polite slap upside the head, there comes a time when bullies have to be aware that you're not a punk.

    You've seen that approach from Spike Lee and Tyler Perry. Even here at S&A, Tambay, Sergio, Jasmin and others have come back to let folks know they're not going to make their lunch off their ass. Granted, haters will be haters and bullies will do what they do, but sometimes... somehow... someway... you have to let them know you're not going to continue being their special kind of fool.

    Listen, on a positive note, I've watched you come through the door, so I have to give S&A a hat-tip for allowing you the opportunity to hone your skills (acting, writing, interviewing directing, filmmaking, etc). Many have said those in position to "help" do not reach back to struggling black artists, but Shadow and Act consistently proves them wrong.

    Anyway, keep doing you and do not be deterred because he who laughs last - laughs best. When you reach the top of your mountain, look back, look down at all the naysayers and say "WHAT ABOUT A TIME CALLED NOW... HOW Y'ALL LIKE ME NOW?"

  • CareyCarey | September 30, 2013 1:22 AM

    @the Bizzaro CC who's also impersonating Akimbo, my pathological need to have the last word forces me to tell you... it's not working. Come on man, who's next, Norman Bates?

    Btw, you do not have the skills to impersonate Akimbo. And, why you gotta talk so nasty?

  • Akimbo | September 30, 2013 12:49 AM

    @CC, wooooow, lol.

    @CareyCarey, I don't care. If you're not in the mood, ignore your pathological need to have the last word and don't respond. No amount of finger-pointing makes the above an analysis, review, critique, or dissection of the film; it's a summary with a side of light-journaling.

    No writer on this site has escaped reader scrutiny, especially not from you, yet you defend this particular one like she's the second coming of Tyler Perry. Unlike you, many commenters are able to separate how they feel about the quality of someone's writing from whether they agree with their opinions. Stay mad and keep trying to police the comments if you want, but it's utter bullshit.

  • CC | September 29, 2013 10:38 PM

    Akimbo why don't you leave Carey alone and let him suck cock in peace!

  • CareyCarey | September 29, 2013 5:36 PM

    Akimbo, I am not in a mood to bicker over the words "opinion" and "review" or why they should or shouldn't be the basis of a "problem".

  • Akimbo | September 29, 2013 4:25 PM

    There was no opinion with which to disagree. It wasn't a review. That was the problem.

  • CareyCarey | September 29, 2013 1:38 PM

    Akimbo, as of lately it appears S&A is moving many posts to fit along with new postings... and there's nothing wrong with that. So I question your opinion.

    In reference to her writing and the "haters", again, this is Masha's point of view. If some folks are more comfortable or more accustom to cookie-cutter, ego stroking "film critics speech", it's them who harbor the "problem", not Masha. Consequently, when I see folks complaining about "proper" grammar and this not being a "real" review, I understand the root of their displeasure. However, it's simply not right nor necessary for them (some) to voice their disdain in the way they have. To that point--> "Hey, if you didn't like the film (many loved it), didn't laugh or don't care for Paula's acting, and thus, disagree with Masha's opinion, just say that, but don't use Masha as a target for your disdain"

  • Akimbo | September 29, 2013 1:13 PM

    The proper response to the "haters" would simply be to improve her writing. You didn't start a brouhaha; this non-review did. With the constant moving of the Talbert interview and this post that offers absolutely no critique or insight into the film, it made me wonder if they were "sponsored" content.

  • Liling | September 29, 2013 1:13 AMReply

    This film reflect an considerable phenomenon about leftover women. Although they are all mature women, the desire of love still on them.
    So the most attractive part of this movie is it can arise emotional resonance of women those who in the same situation. Apparently, the preview is an successful one and completely arouse my curiosity. Keep concerning~

  • Dean | September 28, 2013 5:48 PMReply

    Are there not enough black actresses around? If there are, then why does a mulatto like Paula Patten get a role that could have gone to a black actress? Are blacks so smitten with mixed, mulatto, biracial and/or light-skinned people that they insist that mixed, mulatto, biracial and/or light-skinned people get the plum parts and are held up as the standard (well the standard just under white)?

  • Miles Ellison | September 29, 2013 2:56 PM

    Mulatto? What is this, 1875?

  • CareyCarey | September 29, 2013 2:06 PM

    How about 2 pricks circle-jerking and talking BS?

    How about the dark-skinned actresses and actors in major TV and film roles. Yeah, how about Angela Bassett, Viola Davis, Lorreta Devine, Meagan Good, Jennifer Hudson, Kerry Washington, Alfre Woodard, S. Epatha Merkerson, Denzel, Samuel Jackson, Octavia Spencer, Forest Whitaker, Jeffrey Wright, Don Cheadle, Morgan Freeman, etc-etc-etc-etc...

    Yeah, how all of about them Mr. Dumb & Dumber?

  • Turner | September 29, 2013 1:44 PM

    It's not just the movies... and it's not just women... how about the three leaders of the Nation of Islam? SMDH

  • tman | September 28, 2013 4:19 PMReply

    caught a preview earlier, and although it's silly and predictable, it is funny. the entire theater was laughing out loud, no matter how corny. recommended, the easy laughs alone are worth the price of admission. don 't listen to the naysayers, even though it is lightweight and Paula Patton may never be in line for an Oscar, it is FUN!

  • Guyver | September 28, 2013 12:02 PMReply

    This is the best quote ever from rotten tomatoes :) "A romantic comedy so light and brainless you almost expect it to float away."

  • NYCLawyer | September 28, 2013 11:58 AMReply

    Saw it in a pre-screening months ago. Patton is a terrible actress (also, that horrible voice) and dragged the entire movie down. The story is not original & very predictable, but could have been cute with a good lead actress. Sanaa Lathan, for example, would have been a better choice for that role. Don't waste your money or time on this movie.

  • Turner | September 28, 2013 11:36 AMReply

    Waiting for the "black" Silver Linings Playbook... might not live that long though seeing how I'm 28.

  • Man-Over-Bored | September 27, 2013 10:19 PMReply

    Who is this Masha Dowell, and why is she writing fluff reviews on a site that's established itself for avoiding such pabulum! Call it like it is, Sis -- despite who's in the cast, who directed it, and their skin color being same as ours --or leave the writing to Tambay and the others we've come to rely upon for honesty and integrity in their posted work! (Girl, knows good and well "Baggage Claim" sucked ballz!)

  • CareyCarey | September 28, 2013 2:15 AM

    Exactly CC! And because he was just in my ass I ought to know. We must overcome this wave of hater aid of those actually making great black films. This man-over guy obviously has been talking not just out his ass but all the other lovely places of his body as well.

  • CC | September 27, 2013 10:31 PM

    Says the over-bored man who admitted he gave the movie a pass. How would he know she didn't call it like see saw it and the movie sucked ballz? Oh, that's right, we should take him at his word. He's so bored that he has resorted to talking out his ass.

  • CareyCarey | September 27, 2013 9:37 PMReply

    Please folks, if I was Masha I'd tell you to "kiss the pink part of my assho*le... this is my review, from my perspective... if you don't like it, go read rotten apple or post your own (review)".

    Needless to say, Masha is a better person than me because this type of abuse (this is not constructive feedback) would make me show my ass.

    Listen, upon her arrival she's been under constant unjust scrutiny... and I don't understand why? Check that, yes I do, but what type of snobs, wannebes and pretentious suckasses would say "this is not a "real" review"... "RT gave it a %14" ... "US Weekly called it unfunny so... S&A needs a rating system"

    Hey, if you didn't like the film, didn't laugh or don't care for Paula's acting, and thus, disagree with Masha's opinion, just say that, but don't use Masha as a target for your disdain.

  • Well | September 28, 2013 4:35 AM

    If you don't like the comments here, you can take your own advice & go comment on another post

  • Val | September 27, 2013 9:27 PMReply

    I was hoping to hear about the troubling casting choices.

  • Two Cents | September 27, 2013 9:07 PMReply

    The film was predictable, but I liked it a lot. There was definitely laugh out loud moments and that's what made this film enjoyable. Otherwise, the same ol' same o'.......
    Paula Patton typical quirkyness (is that a word).
    Jill Scott was hilarious and she did an awesome job.
    Tia Mowry was funny and she stepped out of her typical characters.
    The men in the movie just didn't stand out to me and that's probably because I figured out the ending within 15 minutes, so none of the guys you wanted to route for.
    However, the journey was fun and light!!!!!

  • Carl | September 27, 2013 9:02 PMReply

    Masha always handles black films like a mother changing a diaper. This "review" is no different. She is a kiss ass and obviously knows the right people to even get her "reviews" on this blog.

    Can we have a REAL review without the gloves on please?

  • Tichaona Chinyelu | September 27, 2013 8:27 PMReply

    I saw Paula Patton's name and that's all I needed to give it a pass.

  • Man-Over-Board | September 27, 2013 10:08 PM

    Ditto, Tichaona!

  • Eric | September 27, 2013 7:14 PMReply

    I think this review is in support of it cause it's a "black" movie and S&A wants the movie to be supported, despite the "real" reviews of the film.

  • Darkan | September 27, 2013 7:21 PM

    Good call Eric. Rotten Tomatoes was not light handed.

  • REWDY ROLE | September 27, 2013 6:47 PMReply

    This review is rather thin on the actual filmmaking. It reads more like a book report. Shadow and Act is usually much more informed in its writing. I'm willing to give Ms. Dowell another chance.
    Just remember this lesson, know your audience.

  • NOS | September 27, 2013 6:45 PMReply

    umm, dunno what the hell this review is about. S&A might want to put a ratings below each review so we can know exactly how they feel about a movie. RT gave this baggage movie (pun intended) 14%. thing smelled like it would suck... same ol' stale rom-com nonsense.

  • Vegas Soulcialite | September 27, 2013 6:11 PMReply

    I'm really disappointed in this review. It just doesn't feel like something 'Shadow and Act' as whole would approve and post. There is a real lack of voice and flavor in the piece... Not discouraging the writer, just encouraging her to find her own unique voice so she can write memorable reviews. Keep working at it.

  • Michelle | September 27, 2013 6:47 PM

    I felt the same! Very generic review. Not S&A caliber.

  • UM | September 27, 2013 6:47 PM

    Vulture called it "gracelessly conceived" and US Weekly called it "unfunny" and "insulting" to women. Shadow and Act says "many times during the film you will laugh; and at times you will be sad." Um, ok.

  • AGREED | September 27, 2013 6:43 PM

    Agreed. This is a synopsis and a journal entry. Not a review so don't bill it as such. Shadow and Act is better than this.

  • Word blaze | September 27, 2013 5:08 PMReply

    A "sleuth" of unsuitable mates? Lolol.

  • girlnubian | September 28, 2013 6:50 PM

    I am not a professional writer by any means but I do know grammar. What's up with the writer's proliferate and inaccurate use of the semi-colon??? It's inappropriately used in almost every sentence. This writing is really shoddy and not up to the standards of S & A.

  • Akimbo | September 27, 2013 4:55 PMReply


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