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The abysmal romantic-comedy BAGGAGE CLAIM reminds Capone of a good story, or at least a better one…

Published at: Sept. 27, 2013, 4:04 p.m. CST

Hey everyone. Capone in Chicago here.

Okay, so let me tell you a story about my experience going to see the romantic-comedy BAGGAGE CLAIM, the new film from writer-director David E. Talbert (FIRST SUNDAY), based on a screenplay he wrote based on his own book). About 20 minutes before the movie started, I went to the men's room just across the hall from our theater. I was the only one in there at first, and as I was heading for the sink to wash up, I hear footsteps coming into the room; I look up, and there's Michael Bay walking right toward me.

Now I've met Bay a couple times around the filming and release of the last TRANSFORMERS movie, so he recognizes me and says Hi, but then he stops and says, "How did you find out about this?" I have no idea what "this" he's talking about, but I play along saying, "I have people everywhere." He gets a slightly amused look on his face, and I'm thinking that he's there to watch some TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION (which has been shooting around Chicago since late August and wraps up next week) footage on a big screen. Then he says, "Mark's [presumably Mark Wahlberg] already in the theater," and I'm trying to think of a way to get a peek at this footage.

But then he says something about LONE SURVIVOR, which is Wahlberg's next film (written and directed by Peter Berg) to be released in theaters in early January. And then I figure out that Berg must have sent a finished or mostly finished print of the film for Wahlberg to check out, and my hopes of stepping into their theater to check this out slowly diminish, and I say goodbye to Bay and slink back into my screening. But then after BAGGAGE CLAIM is done, I come out back into the hallway, and a mob of people leaving my movie have spotted Wahlberg leaving his (I'm pretty sure I spotted Wahlberg's stunt double with him as well), and he's mobbed by people wanting photos and autographs. He's being completely cool and accommodating with the masses, none of whom seem particularly surprised that he's in town, but I never heard anyone ask him why he was at the theater.

Eventually he's whisked away by security, and that's the end of that. So how does this relate to Baggage Claim? That's easy: everything I just told you is more interesting, funnier and more believable (yes, it all happened) than anything in BAGGAGE CLAIM. I'd rather have another two-minute conversation with Michael Bay in the men's room than sit through this idiotic, insulting (especially to women), brain-damaged film again.

Do you want to know how appallingly bad this movie is? The lead character, flight attendant Montana Moore (Paula Patton, she of the perpetual fake smile), has a gay best friend named Sam (Adam Brody); didn't romantic-comedy leading ladies stop having gay best friends sometime in the mid-1990s? And best of all, when Montana and her other friend, the oversexed Gail (Jill Scott), bemoan the fact that they can't find a good man, gay ol' Sam chimes in, "Tell me about it." Seriously? Clichés are not like wine; they do not get better with age, Mr. Talbert.

It's sickening to watch a character who is sketched out to be a strong, independent woman chase after men so shamelessly. Under circumstances so contrived they aren't even worth detailing here, Montana has 30 days to find a man not just to be her date to her younger sister's wedding but to actually fall in love with her enough to propose. So rather than start from scratch, she and her airline friends dig up the names of men she has dated in the past and track down their flights (apparently there's only one airline in the world in this universe) so Montana can run into them and hopefully conspire to get that proposal in a couple of weeks. Seriously, just recapping this plot is making my stomach turn.

Despite an interesting cast consisting of Derek Luke, Taye Diggs, Jenifer Lewis and Djimon Hounsou, all of that talent is laid to waste from the first frames BAGGAGE CLAIM. But there is no greater acting criminal in the film than Patton, who does little more than smile and pose and look pretty in tight clothes, towering heels and perfect hair. Her delivery sounds like she's talking to children all the time, and despite a film-ending speech about no longer trying to live up the expectations of everyone else (especially her overbearing mother), the damage is done.

And now that you know what this horrid movie is about, go back and read my Michael Bay story and tell me which one you'd rather see in person. If BAGGAGE CLAIM is even under consideration in your household, then someone that lives there hates movies as much as they hate you. I'm heading back to the bathroom.

-- Steve Prokopy
"Capone"
capone@aintitcool.com
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