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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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Jacopone da Todi: Jacomo, or James, was born a noble member of the Benedetti family in the northern Italian city of Todi. He became a successful lawyer and married a pious, generous lady named Vanna. 
<p>His young wife took it upon herself to do penance for the worldly excesses of her husband. One day Vanna, at the insistence of Jacomo, attended a public tournament. She was sitting in the stands with the other noble ladies when the stands collapsed. Vanna was killed. Her shaken husband was even more disturbed when he realized that the penitential girdle she wore was for his sinfulness. On the spot, he vowed to radically change his life. </p><p>He divided his possessions among the poor and entered the Secular Franciscan Order (once known as the Third Order). Often dressed in penitential rags, he was mocked as a fool and called Jacopone, or "Crazy Jim," by his former associates. The name became dear to him. </p><p>After 10 years of such humiliation, Jacopone asked to be a member of the Order of Friars Minor(First Order). Because of his reputation, his request was initially refused. He composed a beautiful poem on the vanities of the world, an act that eventually led to his admission into the Order in 1278. He continued to lead a life of strict penance, declining to be ordained a priest. Meanwhile he was writing popular hymns in the vernacular. </p><p>Jacopone suddenly found himself a leader in a disturbing religious movement among the Franciscans. The Spirituals, as they were called, wanted a return to the strict poverty of Francis. They had on their side two cardinals of the Church and Pope Celestine V. These two cardinals, though, opposed Celestine’s successor, Boniface VIII. At the age of 68, Jacopone was excommunicated and imprisoned. Although he acknowledged his mistake, Jacopone was not absolved and released until Benedict XI became pope five years later. He had accepted his imprisonment as penance. He spent the final three years of his life more spiritual than ever, weeping "because Love is not loved." During this time he wrote the famous Latin hymn, <i>Stabat Mater</i>. </p><p>On Christmas Eve in 1306 Jacopone felt that his end was near. He was in a convent of the Poor Clares with his friend, Blessed John of La Verna. Like Francis, Jacopone welcomed "Sister Death" with one of his favorite songs. It is said that he finished the song and died as the priest intoned the Gloria from the midnight Mass at Christmas. From the time of his death, Brother Jacopone has been venerated as a saint.</p> American Catholic Blog By immersing our lives in the rhythm of the season, charity can flood our souls and fill us with the happiness for which we were created. We awake Christmas morning prepared to celebrate the birth of our Savior not as a memory but as a profound experience of God’s redemptive love.

 
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