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D: David E. Talbert / 96m

Cast: Paula Patton, Derek Luke, Taye Diggs, Adam Brody, Jill Scott, Jenifer Lewis, Boris Kodjoe, Tremaine Neverson, Djimon Hounsou, Lauren London, Christina Milian, Ned Beatty

Adapted from his own novel, writer/director Talbert’s ode to the apparent perils of being female, thirty and unmarried, Baggage Claim is a low-key attempt to add something a little bit different to the usual slew of rom-coms hitting our screens these days. Focusing on air stewardess Montana (Patton), the movie opens with her receiving a romantic invitation to spend Thanksgiving with her boyfriend, Graham (Kodjoe). When Montana finds out that Graham is married (and with a pregnant wife), she all but gives up on finding Mr Right.  To make matters worse, her younger sister Sheree (London) announces she’s getting married – and she’s still in college. Consoled by colleagues Gail (Scott) and Sam (Brody), Montana is encouraged to look up her old boyfriends to see if any of them might still be interested in her. With the airline they work for being used as a means of locating these men, Montana “accidentally” bumps into them on flights they make across the country. The outcomes of these meetings vary, and by the time of her sister’s rehearsal dinner – when she’s promised to attend with the “new man” in her life – Montana is on the verge of having to make a potentially life-changing decision, but one that won’t involve getting married.

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Baggage Claim‘s main strength is that it’s not trying to compete with the Bridesmaids or Bachelorette’s of this world, and is rather an old-fashioned kind of rom-com, with a sympathetic lead character, a traditional romantic hurdle to overcome, and most of the really funny moments provided courtesy of the supporting characters (Scott is hilarious as the boulder-bosomed Gail). Montana’s Mr Right will come as no surprise to anyone, and the road to true love is littered with the usual obstacles and pitfalls. If it all sounds entirely predictable, then you’d be right, but Baggage Claim has a light-hearted sureness of touch that makes it a small-scale winner, and with pleasing performances from Patton, Luke, Diggs and Brody (amongst others), this is one rom-com that doesn’t disappoint on its way to the airport.

Rating: 7/10 – amusing and rewarding throughout, Baggage Claim is a rom-com with lo-cal sweetness; the only question is how come so many men passed over Montana in the first place… when she looks like Paula Patton?

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