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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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Junipero Serra: In 1776, when the American Revolution was beginning in the east, another part of the future United States was being born in California. That year a gray-robed Franciscan founded Mission San Juan Capistrano, now famous for its annually returning swallows. San Juan was the seventh of nine missions established under the direction of this indomitable Spaniard. 
<p>Born on Spain’s island of Mallorca, Serra entered the Franciscan Order, taking the name of St. Francis’ childlike companion, Brother Juniper. Until he was 35, he spent most of his time in the classroom—first as a student of theology and then as a professor. He also became famous for his preaching. Suddenly he gave it all up and followed the yearning that had begun years before when he heard about the missionary work of St. Francis Solanus in South America. Junipero’s desire was to convert native peoples in the New World. </p><p>Arriving by ship at Vera Cruz, Mexico, he and a companion walked the 250 miles to Mexico City. On the way Junipero’s left leg became infected by an insect bite and would remain a cross—sometimes life-threatening—for the rest of his life. For 18 years he worked in central Mexico and in the Baja Peninsula. He became president of the missions there. </p><p>Enter politics: the threat of a Russian invasion south from Alaska. Charles III of Spain ordered an expedition to beat Russia to the territory. So the last two <i>conquistadors</i>—one military, one spiritual—began their quest. José de Galvez persuaded Junipero to set out with him for present-day Monterey, California. The first mission founded after the 900-mile journey north was San Diego (1769). That year a shortage of food almost canceled the expedition. Vowing to stay with the local people, Junipero and another friar began a novena in preparation for St. Joseph’s day, March 19, the scheduled day of departure. On that day, the relief ship arrived. </p><p>Other missions followed: Monterey/Carmel (1770); San Antonio and San Gabriel (1771); San Luís Obispo (1772); San Francisco and San Juan Capistrano (1776); Santa Clara (1777); San Buenaventura (1782). Twelve more were founded after Serra’s death. </p><p>Junipero made the long trip to Mexico City to settle great differences with the military commander. He arrived at the point of death. The outcome was substantially what Junipero sought: the famous “Regulation” protecting the Indians and the missions. It was the basis for the first significant legislation in California, a “Bill of Rights” for Native Americans. </p><p>Because the Native Americans were living a nonhuman life from the Spanish point of view, the friars were made their legal guardians. The Native Americans were kept at the mission after Baptism lest they be corrupted in their former haunts—a move that has brought cries of “injustice” from some moderns. </p><p>Junipero’s missionary life was a long battle with cold and hunger, with unsympathetic military commanders and even with danger of death from non-Christian native peoples. Through it all his unquenchable zeal was fed by prayer each night, often from midnight till dawn. He baptized over 6,000 people and confirmed 5,000. His travels would have circled the globe. He brought the Native Americans not only the gift of faith but also a decent standard of living. He won their love, as witnessed especially by their grief at his death. He is buried at Mission San Carlo Borromeo, Carmel, and was beatified in 1988.</p> American Catholic Blog God is great. God is good. And God, in his fatherly love, has a plan for our lives that will work out for our benefit and salvation. All we have to do is trust and obey.

The Gospel of John the Gospel of Relationship

 
CATHOLIC GREETINGS
Blessed Junipero Serra
This Franciscan friar was instrumental in founding many of California’s mission churches.

Happy Birthday
May this birthday mark the beginning of new and exciting adventures!

Sts. Peter and Paul
Honored both separately and together, these apostles were probably martyred during the reign of the emperor Nero.

Wedding
Help the bride and groom see their love as a mirror of God’s love.

Our Lady of Perpetual Help
God gave Mary to us as a help in our quest for holiness.




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