An unmarried flight attendant’s frantic search for the perfect man takes center stage, in this frothy debut from playwright Talbert (Love Makes Things Happen; Mr. Right Now!, etc.).
Protagonist Montana Moore is 35, ridiculously gorgeous, smart and sassy, and an object of pity and scorn to her much-married mother and much more romantically successful sisters. Montana’s tendency to rank available men as if they’re pieces of luggage blinds her to the need to shed her own “baggage” and start looking for love in the likeliest places. Or such is the consensus of advice she gets from best pal-confidant William and in-flight colleagues, Rabelaisian Gail and flamboyantly effeminate Sam. Determined to display a fiancé at her youngest sister’s upcoming engagement party, Montana considers as possible husbands: prosperous realtor (and Billy Dee Williams look-alike) Graham; jive-talking record producer Damon; hellfire-and-damnation preacher Curtis; politically ambitious attorney Langston, and superrich, middle-aged Quinton. None of them will do, and Montana’s patience is eventually rewarded with her realization that love was right there under her nose, all along. Baggage Claim staggers under the excess weight of clichés, lame jokes (“She’s had enough rice thrown at her to feed the entire continent of Asia”), forced heartiness and camaraderie (almost everybody calls everybody else a “ho,” regardless of gender), and redundant characters and scenes. Reverend Curtis does contribute a briefly funny sermon on the topic of lust, and there’s a nice snotty reference to “an E. Lynn Harris book, full of a bunch of bi-sexuals, try-sexuals, and why-sexuals.” But that’s as entertaining as it ever gets. Talbert makes the aforementioned Harris look like Stendhal, and Terry McMillan a virtual Doris Lessing.
Serenely silly and insubstantial. Pablum, packaged for quick sale as soul food. Don’t bite.