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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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John Paul II: “Open wide the doors to Christ,” urged John Paul II during the homily at the Mass when he was installed as pope in 1978. <br /><br />Born in Wadowice, Poland, Karol Jozef Wojtyla had lost his mother, father and older brother before his 21st birthday. Karol’s promising academic career at Krakow’s Jagiellonian University was cut short by the outbreak of World War II. While working in a quarry and a chemical factory, he enrolled in an “underground” seminary in Kraków. Ordained in 1946, he was immediately sent to Rome where he earned a doctorate in theology. <br /><br />Back in Poland, a short assignment as assistant pastor in a rural parish preceded his very fruitful chaplaincy for university students. Soon he earned a doctorate in philosophy and began teaching that subject at Poland’s University of Lublin. <br /><br />Communist officials allowed him to be appointed auxiliary bishop of Kraków in 1958, considering him a relatively harmless intellectual. They could not have been more wrong! <br /><br />He attended all four sessions of Vatican II and contributed especially to its <em>Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World</em>. Appointed as archbishop of Kraków in 1964, he was named a cardinal three years later. <br /><br />Elected pope in October 1978, he took the name of his short-lived, immediate predecessor. Pope John Paul II was the first non-Italian pope in 455 years. In time, he made pastoral visits to 124 countries, including several with small Christian populations. <br /><br />He promoted ecumenical and interfaith initiatives, especially the 1986 Day of Prayer for World Peace in Assisi. He visited Rome’s Main Synagogue and the Western Wall in Jerusalem; he also established diplomatic relations between the Holy See and Israel. He improved Catholic-Muslim relations and in 2001 visited a mosque in Damascus, Syria. <br /><br />The Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, a key event in John Paul’s ministry, was marked by special celebrations in Rome and elsewhere for Catholics and other Christians. Relations with the Orthodox Churches improved considerably during his ministry as pope. <br /><br />“Christ is the center of the universe and of human history” was the opening line of his 1979 encyclical, <em>Redeemer of the Human Race</em>. In 1995, he described himself to the United Nations General Assembly as “a witness to hope.” <br /><br />His 1979 visit to Poland encouraged the growth of the Solidarity movement there and the collapse of communism in central and eastern Europe 10 years later. He began World Youth Day and traveled to several countries for those celebrations. He very much wanted to visit China and the Soviet Union but the governments in those countries prevented that. <br /><br />One of the most well-remembered photos of his pontificate was his one-on-one conversation in 1983 with Mehmet Ali Agca, who had attempted to assassinate him two years earlier. <br /><br />In his 27 years of papal ministry, John Paul II wrote 14 encyclicals and five books, canonized 482 saints and beatified 1,338 people. <br /><br />In the last years of his life, he suffered from Parkinson’s disease and was forced to cut back on some of his activities. <br /><br />Pope Benedict XVI beatified John Paul II in 2011, and Pope Francis canonized him in 2014. American Catholic Blog Lord, may I have balance and measure in everything—except in Love. —St. Josemaría Escrivá

 
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