Baggage Claim (PG-13) (97 min.) — In a year when movies by and about African-Americans — The Butler, Fruitvale Station and the forthcoming 12 Years a Slave — jockey for awards superiority, Baggage Claim is a reminder that cinematic mediocrity is color blind. It's entirely possible for gifted black artists to resort to packaging rom-com cliches into sporadically charming but ultimately dumb entertainment.
In this case, it's Paula Patton (2 Guns, Precious) as flight attendant Montana Moore, doing things for love that might get her arrested in real life, hoping to find a prospective husband. Because, as Mama (Jenifer Lewis) says, no woman is complete unless she's a dutiful wife and mother before age 30 and that deadline has passed. Montana runs a cross-country gantlet of former boyfriends with crazed girlfriends, trophy mate intentions and temperamental pets, aided by the flirty friend (Jill Scott) and gay confidante (Adam Brody) such movies are obliged to include.
Baggage Claim is coast-to-coast eye candy, with Montana using her airline connections to stalk such hunks as Taye Diggs, Djimon Hounsou, Trey Songz and Boris Kodjoe, when Mr. Right (Derek Luke) has been living down the hall for years. If that sounds like 2011's What's Your Number? with Anna Faris, you're not alone. Writer-director David E. Talbert, working from his novel, tackles each musical interlude, montage and mad dash to an airport like he's the first person ever to think of them. He isn't, nor sadly will he be the last. C
Steve Persall, Times movie critic