Paula Patton stars in “Baggage Claim”. Credit: Fox Searchlight
In theaters Friday Sept. 27.
2 stars (out of 4)
Paula Patton is too likeable to take a pathetic role like this!
As Baltimore flight attendant Montana, she’s unable to find an iota of satisfaction in her exciting job or fancy high-rise apartment. The reason? She’s pushing 30 and…wait for it..still single! “I don’t want to be alone,” she wails in a voiceover. “I want my Prince Charming and Mr. Right.” (Sidebar: Using terms like Prince Charming and Mr. Right isn’t going to help your cause, Montana.)
Good thing there’s a ridiculously contrived reason for her to get busy in a hurry. Her newly engaged younger sister is set to wed in 30 days, and Montana is determined to find herself a husband — not a date; a husband — by the rehearsal dinner. Her plan: Criss-cross the country on her airline, meet up with her all-time favorite frequent-flier passengers, throw herself at them and hope for the best.
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During her quest, Montana is so desperate that she’s willing to sit in a garbage dump to see if one guy is cheating on her, and stand on a fire escape in the rain while another guy duels with his crazy ex. Sigh. She also goes after a misogynist politico (Taye Diggs) and a dashing hotel mogul (Djimon Honsou) over a span of 30,000 miles. But it’s obvious to anyone who’s ever seen a single generic romantic comedy like this one that her true love is the good-natured childhood friend (Derek Luke) who just happens to live 30 feet away. Sigh, the sequel.
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Seeing a beautiful and successful woman wrap her entire self-worth around getting married as soon as possible isn’t just antiquated and unfunny, it’s insulting. (As her fellow flight attendant friend, played by Jill Scott, admonishes her, “It’s the 21st century!”) And just when it seems like Montana might have learned a lesson and decided to take things down a notch — she even tells her sister to think twice before settling down so young — she hustles it to the airport because she thinks a proposal is imminent.
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Look, it’s not all bad. Patton is a bright screen presence and can easily carry her own film. And Scott and Adam Brody provide morsels of humor with their snarky commentary. But surely they’re already regretting catching this flight.