Paula Patton is adorable in this softened romantic fairy tale while the scripting acts as the villain. Single and nearing 30, Patton’s Montana Moore is swept up in one of those greased up Hollywood schemes where she simply must marry Mr. Right or the apocalypse shall rain down on us all.
Patton carries this hemorrhaging material, bleeding onto itself from its conceptual stage. Moore is a perky, chipper woman who (gosh darn it) cannot find the right man. Her stereotypical gay friend hatches a plot to meet her exes over the next 30 days, because romance is bonded to broken relationships.
Baggage Claim would be considered a live action cartoon were it not offensive to the medium itself. So overwrought is this humdrum disaster, it opens with not one but five weddings and has the audacity to shove its protagonist into into a taxi for an airport run at the end. In-between, Patton splashes a smile or two toward characters who are developed in minutes of screen time, boxed into hopeless frames, suffocating inside of their acting restraints.
Writer/director David E. Talbert purchases cliches and characters in bulk at a discount, plucking personalities from a stream of hopeless Hollywood romanticism. Patton is molded into a perfectionist with impossible luck in her potential suitors, most sleeping on piles of international currency. From businessmen to Senators, her array of candidates is only missing a doctor. Shame then these men are infested with flaws – or one rather – which turn them into incompatible mud.
Montana Moore must turn her men down lightly. None seem gun shy about their ex and one is in a situation to propose for the sake the plot after 24 hours. Could it be the right man for her is living across the hall? Her high school sweetheart? The guy she has always loved and relies on? It is? Oh.
Baggage Claim cannot be quantified as, “roll your eyes” romantically infantile. Somehow it’s worse. The film adjusts to suit it own fantasy world, creating a feminine perception crafted by infinite routine comedies prior. Even this genre’s lowest would find less of a struggle to heave malleable characters onto screens or personality to embody them. Instead, these are cut outs made from withering, water soaked cardboard and their condition is caused by overuse. Baggage Claim is trapped in a body of its own doing.
Routine cinematography (which paints Baggage Claim with a TV-level of cinematic attributes) will not run over this pleasingly textured effort. All that can be said for the feature’s crushing failings can be reversed for a persistently sharp source. In close, facial detail proves unwavering with strict adherence to consistency. Slight softening in medium shots are problematic from the HD enthusiast view, although brief in their milder appearance.
Chipper and meant for mass appeal, color grading scatters hues around, with bright environments and peppy primaries. Coupled alongside firm contrast, images open with density and end the same. Despite some color buffering, flesh tones are freed from any orange affliction.
A handful of exteriors appear to be pulled from stock footage, evidenced by blatant compression which would be much for DVD level MPEG-2. Baggage Claim is also hit with a noise problem, if one light enough to carry minimal impact on image quality. Most scenes are glazed with digital buzz.
Fox’s AVC encode is up to this menial task, hosting imagery without flubs. Black levels are brilliant, covering up anything unsightly should it exist, and remain well trained in terms of shadow detail. If you plan on bucking up and sitting through this feature, at least it will adorn your equipment with capable visuals.
Typically, planes taking off or landing will boost an audio mix, allowing a sound designer to toy around with positional work plus a dash of LFE for engine effects. Except here. Despite a film surrounded by airports and flight, Baggage Claim slips away into a center channel-powered corner with a fear of escape.
Ambiance is crushed despite opportunity, and stereos mark territory when the repetitive soundtrack is utilized. Notes are only of disappointment even in the case of romantic comedy. This DTS-HD track is competent with dialog and otherwise a wash.
Extras stretch for relevancy with writer/director David E. Talbert commentating over most of them. Three deleted scenes offer the optional Talbert treatment if not much else. Some set footage shows Talbert discussing scenes with his actors, interesting with commentary. Four promotional featurettes are labeled as such (so move on), while the main feature has Talbert turning solo for a full commentary.
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