David E. Talbert’s Baggage Claim features a character who’s desperate to find a marriageable man to make her husband, and the character’s desperation weirdly parallels the filmmaking process itself resulting in a desperate, grasping kind of romantic comedy farce in which no one emerges unscathed. Many of the actors are talented, but saddled with material this lame and predictable, this is not a pretty sight for anyone involved.
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HDMA, Spanish 5.1 DD, French 5.1 DTS
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Run Time: 1 Hr. 36 Min.
Package Includes: Blu-ray, DVD, UltraVioletkeep case
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Release Date: 02/04/2014
When single flight attendant Montana Moore’s (Paula Patton) sister (Lauren London) announces her engagement, the almost-thirty Montana begins feeling the clutching hands of eternal singlehood at her throat, and when her current boy friend Graham (Boris Kodjoe) turns out to have a pregnant wife at home much to her surprise, Montana and her two fellow single best friends Gail (Jill Scott) and Sam (Adam Brody) hatch a plan for her to find Mr. Right, not by trying to meet someone new but by revisiting former lovers whom she dumped thinking maybe in the intervening years, they’ve upped their game and will now be worthy of her. Sadly, record executive Damon (Tremaine Neverson), politician Langston (Taye Diggs), and wealthy man of the world Quinton (Djimon Hounsou) all prove unsatisfactory. Fortunately, there’s her school chum William (Derek Luke) living right across the hall and enmeshed in his own romantic quandaries who can lend a helpful ear and a shoulder to cry on.
The Production Rating: 2/5
From the moment we meet neighbor William, it’s obvious that he’s the perfect man for the flighty (in more ways than just being a flight attendant) Montana. So why does it take thirty days of real time and ninety minutes of screen time for Montana to arrive at the same conclusion? It’s called plot contrivance, and director David E. Talbert’s script (based on his own novel) is jammed full of it. Montana’s arbitrary belief that reaching the age of 30 makes one too over-the-hill for marriage and thus incapable of being either a lady or a “real woman” (her words) is patently ridiculous, but the movie’s fulcrum balances on that very assumption. Everything else that follows, from the continual intense pressure on her to find a mate imposed on her by her dragon of a mother (Jenifer Lewis) who’s been married five times and yet thinks her oldest daughter is the loser to the impossible fantasy series of rich, astoundingly handsome boy friends that make their way through her life, are as phony and manipulative as the situations set up for her by the writer-director (stranded on a fire escape, Montana wails “Can it get any worse?” before a sudden downpour occurs; stalking her cheating boy friend, Montana calls friend Gail for advice to prevent being caught and is told to jump in a trash bin which she promptly does, much to Gail’s surprise). The absurd situations and hollow dialogue (the mother who’s been a total pill through the entire film completely reverses course at the end and cautions her daughter to wait for the right person in the film’s phoniest and most irritating character reversal – not the only one) pervade the film even if, one must grudgingly admit, the assignations and their aftermath are kept moving jauntily amid glamorous sets and gorgeous wardrobes for the star and her suitors.
The character development in the script is so shallow that no one can really delve deeply into their roles. The beautiful Paula Patton mugs and grimaces her way through Montana’s pratfalls and disappointments, while Jill Scott and Jenifer Lewis handle the sassy backtalk and one-liners that are the only earmarks of their characters. Djimon Hounsou is the most earnest and honest of the suitors (he just doesn’t want a wife; two divorces have convinced him marriage doesn’t work for him and he wants basically a paid companion), and Derek Luke’s blue collar William makes a notable opposite side of the coin to the series of slick, rich guys which Montana is chasing. Adam Brody as Montana’s gay friend Sam gets off a couple of decent one-liners.
The film’s theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 is faithfully reproduced in this 1080p transfer using the AVC codec. This is a gorgeous transfer from beginning to end with outstanding sharpness, dynamic but controlled color reproduction with very accurate skin tones, superb black levels, and contrast consistently delivering a perfect viewing experience. The film has been divided into 28 chapters.
Video Rating: 5/5 3D Rating: NA
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound mix plays most strongly in the front soundstage. The music score by Aaron Zigman and an array of pop tunes do get spread through the fronts and rears, but there is almost zero ambience present in the mix even though Montana has rendezvous with her potential mates in locales like Chicago, New York, and Washington, D.C. The LFE channel is but a memory here. Dialogue is generally well recorded (a couple of the actors should have looped their lines to be more understandable) and has been placed in the center channel.
Audio Rating: 3.5/5
Audio Commentary: writer-director David E. Talbert who is unsurprisingly proud of his work and the work of his cast and crew provides a gushing-with-praise audio commentary.
Special Features Rating: 3/5
Deleted Scenes (9:05, HD) three scenes may be viewed together or separately and with or without commentary by the writer-director.
Behind the Scenes With The Director (2:35, HD): some candid shots taken of director David Talbert working with the actors between takes. There is also optional audio commentary with this brief feature.
Promotional Featurettes (HD): four EPK vignettes are available for separate viewing. They are:
- Fly Girls (4:37): the female cast members each briefly describe their characters and how they play into the film’s plot.
- Wing Men (4:30): the male members of the cast each briefly describe their characters and how they play into the film’s plot.
- The Story (4:21): the director and the cast tell the story of the film.
- Interview With the Cast (4:37): two separate roundtable discussions on making the movie with select members of the company.
Promo Trailers (HD): The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Enough Said, 12 Years a Slave, Romeo and Juliet.
DVD/Ultraviolet: disc and code sheet enclosed in the case
A romantic comedy that is more irritating than funny and less romantic than smarmy, Baggage Claim wastes a good cast with sub par if well meaning material. The Blu-ray does offer a reference quality picture, and fans of the stars might consider a rental if they run out of other options.
Overall Rating: 2.5/5
Reviewed By: Matt Hough
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