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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Baggage Claim

By
Joseph McAleer
Source: Catholic News Service


Jill Scott, Adam Brody, and Paula Patton star in a scene from the movie "Baggage Claim."
 A good man is hard to find, especially at 30,000 feet. So a determined flight attendant searching for a soul mate among her passengers discovers in the romantic comedy "Baggage Claim" (Fox Searchlight).

Director David E. Talbert ("First Sunday"), who also adapted the screenplay from his 2005 novel, charts an old-fashioned, predictable course with some thematic turbulence along the way. Though riddled with cliches and overly sentimental, "Baggage Claim" is ultimately a trip worth taking. It's that Hollywood rarity, a film that upholds and promotes the institution of marriage.

Montana Moore (Paula Patton) thinks she's finally found Mr. Right in wealthy businessman Graham (Boris Kodjoe). Unfortunately, on the eve of their "engagement," he turns out to be married.

"My relationships have never been cleared for takeoff," Montana laments to William (Derek Luke), her neighbor and friend since childhood. "I don't want to end up alone in a house full of cats."

Her mother, Catherine (Jenifer Lewis), has the opposite problem, having been married five times.

When Montana's younger sister, Sheree, (Lauren London), announces her engagement, Montana is determined to make it to the altar at last (and shed her relationship "baggage"). With the help of colleagues Gail (Jill Scott) and Sam (Adam Brody), Montana arranges in-flight rendezvous' with a series of ex-boyfriends, hoping to rekindle a past romance.

We follow Montana's slapstick adventures in the air and on the ground as she reunites with, among others, record producer Damon (Tremaine "Trey Songz" Neverson), rising politician Langston (Taye Diggs), and millionaire Quinton (Djimon Hounsou).

To her credit, Montana resists the temptation to settle for second-best and a life of submission and exploitation. She's looking for true love, a lifelong commitment, and mutual respect, and is willing to wait. Unfortunately, she's not always so patient where sex is concerned.

In the end, Montana realizes that staying married is a bigger challenge than just getting hitched. For that reason alone, "Baggage Claim" deserves a test flight.

The film contains implied nonmarital sex, mature references, including to homosexuality and contraception, a same-sex kiss, innuendo and some crude language. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III—adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13—parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

*****
Joseph McAleer is a guest reviewer for Catholic News Service.





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Martyrdom of John the Baptist: The drunken oath of a king with a shallow sense of honor, a seductive dance and the hateful heart of a queen combined to bring about the martyrdom of John the Baptist. The greatest of prophets suffered the fate of so many Old Testament prophets before him: rejection and martyrdom. The “voice crying in the desert” did not hesitate to accuse the guilty, did not hesitate to speak the truth. But why? What possesses a man that he would give up his very life? 
<p>This great religious reformer was sent by God to prepare the people for the Messiah. His vocation was one of selfless giving. The only power that he claimed was the Spirit of Yahweh. “I am baptizing you with water, for repentance, but the one who is coming after me is mightier than I. I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Matthew 3:11). Scripture tells us that many people followed John looking to him for hope, perhaps in anticipation of some great messianic power. John never allowed himself the false honor of receiving these people for his own glory. He knew his calling was one of preparation. When the time came, he led his disciples to Jesus: “The next day John was there again with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God.’ The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus” (John 1:35-37). It is John the Baptist who has pointed the way to Christ. John’s life and death were a giving over of self for God and other people. His simple style of life was one of complete detachment from earthly possessions. His heart was centered on God and the call that he heard from the Spirit of God speaking to his heart. Confident of God’s grace, he had the courage to speak words of condemnation or repentance, of salvation.</p> American Catholic Blog Just as my children become members of my family when I bring them into the world, so too our baptism incorporates us into the family of the Church. This supernatural membership prevents us from being orphans who have to fend for themselves in the spiritual wilderness.

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