September 9, 2014

Baggage Claim (2013)

Paula Patton, Derek Luke, Jill Scott




It's never a good sign when you can predict the end of the movie before the opening credits even finish rolling. Granted, it's a romantic comedy, so there are only a handful of possible endings (the classic happy ending of Sixteen Candles, the I-hated-you-then-suddenly-realized-I-actually-love-you ending of Bridget Jones' Diary, the friend-who's-been-there-the-whole-time ending of When Harry Met Sally, or the surprise you-don't-always-get-what-you-want ending of My Best Friend's Wedding), but still. 

What I did not see coming, however, was that the plot was a complete rip-off of What's Your Number. Of course, there were minor tweaks, like the addition of a sassy, sex-craved friend played (brilliantly) by Jill Scott. Is it wrong that I enjoyed Jill Scott so much more as a Samantha copy from Sex & the City than the sappy little "nice girl" in Why Did I Get Married? To be honest, I wasn't entirely convinced she could even act after watching Why Did I Get Married, but she was one of the few mild highlights in this movie.

Speaking of underrated acting, I never really appreciated Taye Diggs until I watched him act side-by-side with the likes of Adam Brody and Trey Songz. In comparison, Taye Diggs is so good I won't even complain that his IMDB profile lists him at 5'10"! (Seriously? Dream on, Taye.) Adam Brody might have been the worst cliché gay sidekick in a movie I've seen since that weird fat kid in Mean Girls. And even Paula Patton wasn't convincing that she should star in anything more than a Robin Thicke music video. Her squeaky yet raspy voice is on full display here, confusing viewers about whether she's a sexy grown woman or a teenager going through puberty.

Perhaps I'm being too hard on Paula Patton, especially since I don't remember hating her in Jumping the Broom. But when compared to What's Your Number, it becomes clear that the acting makes or breaks the movie. Sporting almost identical major plot points and awkwardly humorous main characters, What's Your Number overcomes predictability to be funny and enjoyable nevertheless. Baggage Claim, on the other hand, has an equally amusing premise, but fails on most scenes because the actors are not funny. And who is in every scene of this not-funny movie? Exactly.

I mean, at the end of the day, can anyone really recommend a movie that lists La La Anthony on the movie poster next to Djimon Hounsou?

Final word: It felt like a Lifetime movie. Except that no one was murdered. And a few actors in it are still considered relevant.

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