A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Baggage Claim is a romantic comedy about a flight attendant who follows her exes on flights to see whether they can rekindle their old spark. Although there's only one actual sex scene (no actual nudity, thought the couple strips down to their underwear and gets into bed), there are plenty of references to doing it (i.e. "boning") and getting it on. Some high-end labels and products are featured, and strong language, while infrequent, includes "bitch," "a--hole," and "s--t." The movie's messages about romance and relationships are very mixed, ranging from the positive adage that it's not "getting married" that's important but "staying married" to the iffier ideas that you have to be married and have kids to be a true woman and that a strong woman needs to let her husband "lead."
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What's the story?
Montana Moore (Paula Patton) is a Baltimore flight attendant who loves her job and her friends but can't seem to find Mister Right. She was taught by her five-times-married mother that, to be a real woman, you have to be married with kids. So, after her college-aged little sister announces her engagement, Montana becomes desperate to have a serious boyfriend/fiance by the night of the rehearsal dinner a month later. Her coworkers, Sam (Adam Brody) and Gail (Jill Scott), hatch a plan to get Montana a man in 30 days: Send all of her exes' names to their airport friends in ticketing, baggage drop-off, and security in order to make sure that Montana can join the former beaus on their flights. She embarks on a whirlwind journey of rediscovering old flames, just to see if one of them really could be "the one" for her.
Is it any good?
As cheesy romantic comedies go, BAGGAGE CLAIM has enough familiar jokes to offer up a pleasant, if forgettable, time at the theater. But the movie's messages can be seen as very antiquated, if not downright offensive to anyone who's ever been happily single for any length of time. The idea that getting a man and a ring to show off is more important than letting love grow organically isn't exactly funny; so, despite her beauty, Montana comes off as pathetic for most of the movie.
Still, Brody and Scott manage to be funny in their cliched roles as the sarcastic gay and buxom/promiscuous flight attendants, respectively. Patton is genuinely a charming performer, as is Derek Luke, who plays her lifelong best friend and long-suffering neighbor, William. And, of course, Djimon Hounsou and Taye Diggs (two of Mo's exes) are always a treat to see on screen. But overall the movie is just too, too obvious to be good. Let's hope David E. Talbert's next comedy has fewer stereotypes about both women and relationships.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether Baggage Claim's relationship advice and messages about women's roles in society and marriage are appropriate for teens. Who is this movie targeted at? How can you tell?
Some have criticized this movie for being outdated in its view of love and romance. Do you agree? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values on these subjects.
Did you notice any stereotyping in this movie? Why do you think it's so tempting to fall back on known "types" when it comes to certain kind of characters?
- In theaters: September 27, 2013
- On DVD or streaming: February 4, 2014
- Cast: Derek Luke, Jill Scott, Paula Patton
- Director: David E. Talbert
- Studio: Fox Searchlight
- Genre: Romance
- Topics: Friendship
- Run time: 96 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: sexual content and some language
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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