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Baggage Claim (Blu-ray Review)

baggage claim whysoblu poster-001Baggage Claim has come from a long line of romantic comedies featuring impossibly beautiful women with problems finding loveIt is annoying to have to say something like, “take my words with a grain of salt, as this is not my preferred genre,” but it is true.  Baggage Claim is definitely a film that is made for an audience that is into these kinds of clichéd romantic comedies, which feature attractive casts and the bare minimum requirements to develop a premise that slightly differs from those that came before it.  One can throw the “hypocrite” label at me all they want, when I recommend a horror movie that feels ever so similar to another one and does not do a whole lot new, but what can I say?  Some movies just do not work for me, especially when I have examples of similar ones that do.  Baggage Claim may work as easy entertainment for some, but there is very little here that had me legitimately enjoying the film.

Film: 

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The story is a race against time plot, set over the course of a month.  Paula Patton stars as flight attendant Montana Moore, a woman determined to get engaged before her youngest sister’s wedding, after her latest relationship turned out to be too good to be true. Using her airline connections to “accidentally” meet up with some of her ex-boyfriends, she travels all over the country, while searching for the perfect guy.  It is a light and fluffy story, featuring revelations about long-time best friends of the opposite gender, sassy best friends encouraging carrying on with the wacky plot, and a climax that manages to include wedding-related events and a mad dash through an airport terminal.

The film is spearheaded by Patton and features a large, almost all black cast.  Derek Luke, Jill Scott, and Adam Brody star as Montana’s friends.  Jenifer Lewis plays her mother, who has been married five different times.  Boris Kodjoe, Taye Diggs, Trey Songz, and Djimon Hounsou star as Montana’s possible suitors.  And Ned Beatty pops up as the rich white man, who is vaguely bigoted, when addressing Diggs’ politician character, because why not?  Ned Beatty can do what he wants.

Is there much of a reason to get into what I thought about the story?  The film hits so many familiar beats, it became very easy to call out the various lines of dialogue a character would inevitably say.  “Oh you work at the hotel,” says Montana to a potential suitor, “I Own the hotel,” is of course the response.  Moments like these are not necessarily a hindrance to a film that could be better, just a reassurance that you have entered the right movie, assuming you jumped on board to a film with little to offer in the way of innovation.  Writer/director David E. Talbert, who wrote the book this film is based on, certainly has the benefit of a cast that is comfortable going through the motions of a film like this, but has also left me wondering what specific romantic comedy films he was inspired by, rather than real life situations, as this film is clearly a derivative fantasy.

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Yes, Baggage Claim can only exist in a fantasy world.  While I may not know how much a flight attendant makes in order to lease or own an incredibly large and fancy apartment in Baltimore, I am pretty sure no one wakes up in the morning looking as good as Paula Patton does.  Sure, this is a movie of a certain type, but it just adds to my point, once again, what is being proved here?  The film gets points for being likable enough, as no character (that you are supposed to enjoy in some manner) is portrayed in a way that does not make you completely dislike them, but that is not really enough.

I will say I like Paula Patton quite a bit.  She may not be the most gifted comedic actress, but she has a certain quality that makes her a very likable screen presence.  That said, stepping into more dramatic territory, or even more action territory (I like her “in the midst of danger face” that pops up here, as well as in Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol), seems like a place I would be happier to find her in.  The rest of the cast is fine, but add nothing that really stands out.  I can only imagine that Adam Brody and Justin Long take turns playing “gay best friend” in movies, but Brody and Jill Scott are fun enough as Montana’s fellow flight attendants/angel & demon relationship supporters.  Taye Diggs relishes playing the controlling ex-boyfriend, while Djimon Hounsou is in the exact opposite position, playing the kindest man of them all.

If I have explained all of this and one is still not convinced they do not see a reason they would not enjoy this movie for what it is, I can also add that the movie looks cheap, feels long, and seems confused by what it is trying to accomplish.  It is rare that I notice how cheap-looking certain sets feel, but that seemed apparent here (enough so to distract me, at least).  I was surprised to see that this film was only 97 minutes, as it seemed to really carry on for a while.  And by the time it reached its finale, Montana seemed to be making up her realizations as she went along and announcing what she learned to various friends and family, while baffling what I thought was going on.  I have maintained that it is not my place to say, “go see” or “do not see” this movie, but there is no denying that I have gone to see movies like this that were more enjoyable, simply because they handled these details more effectively, which can make all the difference in what is supposed to be light fun.

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Baggage Claim is by no means a burden of a film to have seen, as it balances its trite story and other disposable elements with a likable cast and breezy tone.  I only wish it was something that could work as anything more than a possible guilty pleasure for someone that enjoys these kinds of movies.  The film means well, attempts to differentiate itself in some fairly limited ways, but never rises above “sorta average”.  Paula Patton is nice enough to watch as the lead, but I would have been happier claiming my baggage elsewhere.

Video:

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Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1:85:1

Clarity/Detail:  One of my biggest complaints about this film on a technical level is how cheap it looked and this Blu-ray gave me a chance to notice that once again.  Obvious greenscreens and cheap sets are highlighted here.

Depth:  Not a lot to most of these characters, but the film is represented on Blu well enough, in terms of the look that was achieved cinematically.

Black Levels:  Oh the joke that could be made here…anyway, this aspect is balanced well enough.

Color Reproduction:  It’s a bright and colorful affair, so the Blu-ray does a good enough job of representing the use of color in its presentation.

Flesh Tones:  All of the actors are good-looking and this Blu-ray certainly highlights that aspect.

Noise/Artifacts:  It is a clean, studio-produced film.  Very little to complain about.

Audio: 

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Audio Format(s):  English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, English Descriptive Audio 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French DTS 5.1

Subtitles:  English SDH, Spanish

Dynamics:  Between the use of R&B music selections, various sound effects fitting for rom-coms, and the all the spoken dialogue that makes up the majority of the movie, there was a good use of the main audio track.

Low Frequency Extension:  Not a lot of oomph in Baggage Claim, but it doesn’t really matter.

Surround Sound Presentation:  The soundtrack is the only time this makes much of an impact.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Very clear throughout.

 

Extras: 

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While I generally embrace commentaries, I had to breeze through the one provided by writer/director David E. Talbert, as the film just is not interesting enough to warrant a full second viewing.  There are some other extras as well, making the package complete enough for those who really want to enjoy more from this film.

Features Include:

  • Deleted Scenes – About 10 minutes of extra material that just padded the running time and was not anything essential.  Optional commentary is available for this section.
  • Behind the Scenes with the Director – Pretty self-explanatory
  • Promotional Featurettes:  Fly Girls, Wing Men, The Story, and Interview with the Cast – All standard EPK material, as the cast and crew go over the film and what it brings to the table.
  • Audio Commentary with Writer/Director David E. Talbert
  • DVD Copy of the Film
  • UltraViolet Copy of the Film

Summary: 

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Baggage Claim may not be a film I was excited to revisit, but I can see who it is for.  It is inoffensive silliness that is not really my thing.  The cast is lively enough, but the plotting is routine, the romance is pretty meddling, and the film, overall, is forgettable.  A decent Blu-ray package makes for a good look for fans or those really curious; otherwise, this is pretty inessential.

Order Your Copy Here:

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Aaron is a writer/reviewer for WhySoBlu.com.  Follow him on Twitter @AaronsPS4.
He also co-hosts a podcast,
Out Now with Aaron and Abe, available via iTunes or at HHWLOD.com

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Writer/Reviewer, Film Lover, Podcaster, Gamer, Comic Reader, Disc Golfer & a Lefty. There are too many films, TV, books, etc. for me to list as favorites, but I can assure that the amount film knowledge within my noggin is ridiculous, though I am always open to learning more. You can follow me on Twitter @AaronsPS4, see what else I am up to at TheCodeIsZeek.com & check out my podcast, Out Now with Aaron and Abe, on iTunes.

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