Baggage Claim racks up a lot of frequent flier miles criss-crossing the country in the name of finding love. It makes pit stops in Houston, Washington DC, New York City, Baltimore and Los Angeles, but despite all that traveling, it never really arrives anywhere new. It borrows from previous romantic comedies like What’s Your Number?, 27 Dresses and The Wedding Date, and in doing so, is never able to find enough original space to be its own movie. It’s just a retread of conversations and plot points viewers have seen before. Fortunately, many of those retreads are likable enough to get by.
Montana Moore (Patton). She’s a hopeless romantic and in serious need of a rehearsal dinner date; so, she takes a page out of the Anna Faris playbook and decides to loop back around and check out the men she’s already been with. With the help of her good friends/ fellow flight attendants Sam (Adam Brody) and Gail (Jill Scott) and several of her co-workers who handle a variety of airport-related jobs, she begins stalking the former flames and engineering her schedule to bump into as many of the dudes as possible, either by working or taking the same flights.
She’s been with more than a handful of men in her day, but there are plenty of highlights including a rising star politician (Taye Diggs), a powerful hotel owner (Djimon Hounsou), an up and coming record producer (Trey Songz) and, of course, her longtime best friend who she doesn’t think of in that way (Derek Luke). Many of these encounters are amusing, enlightening or worthy of a oh-no-he-didn’t, and in them, the film has its single greatest strength. It might be formulaic, but there’s a reason why romantic comedies love incorporating former lovers. It’s an easy way to generate laughs and shoehorn in character development backstory.
Baggage Claim isn’t really good by any definition. Its characters aren’t particularly well-developed, and its basic plot isn’t anything anyone would ever consider doing. The film contains one scene that’s so bizarrely shot and weirdly sexual that I’m still convinced it was originally meant to be a dream sequence, and it makes no sense that all of Moore’s ex-boyfriends started crushing life immediately after they separated. At no angle would any objective person look at Baggage Claim and pile on large amounts of unqualified praise.
But Baggage Claim is still remarkably average, which, in the world of romantic comedies, means it’s absolutely good enough to watch, given the right mood. Adam Brody and Jill Scott are absurdly wonderful as Montana’s constantly fighting co-workers, and there are more than a handful of big smiles to be had here. The acting is also a cut above your average rom-com, and any movie that reminds the world how loveable Tia Mowry is deserves at least a sideways thumb.
If you’re the type of person who can offer a three minute impassioned defense of Fool’s Gold or more than five reasons why Just Like Heaven is worth grabbing out of a five dollar bin, paying to see this movie is far from a horrible idea. If you’ve always been annoyed by the overwhelming percentage of marginal romantic comedies that feature Kate Hudson or another generic white girl trying to get her happy ending and have always yearned to see more women of color embroiled in stupid schemes to land men, go ahead and line up for this one. For everyone else, prepare yourself to be lured in when Baggage Claim shows up on cable three years from now.