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Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

All my aimless thoughts, ideas, and ramblings, all packed into one site!

Tag Archives: Terrence J

Baggage Claim (2013)

Good thing she wasn’t afraid of flying, because otherwise, this would have been a hell of a lot longer.

For some odd reason, Montana Moore (Paula Patton) has just never been lucky in her life when it came to men. She’s always had boyfriends and some serious relationships, but they’ve just never panned-out much to be as serious as something like, say, “matrimony”. However, Montana’s little sister has just got engaged, which makes her see this as the time for a change in her life where she needs to find Mr. Right, even if that means going back to all of her exes. With her besties (Adam Brody and Jill Scott), Montana goes all around the world, hops from plane-to-plane, in hopes of meeting up with these guys while they’re flying up in the air. Most remember her and want to continue talking and being with her, however, some of them aren’t always winners.

So yeah, this is pretty much the African-American version of that dumb-ass, Anna Faris rom-com that came out a couple of years ago called What’s Your Number? If you don’t remember it, that’s fine, because you most likely aren’t alone but basically, it’s close to the same exact premise as this, just minus all of the black people, soothing R&B tunes, and the whole “baggage claimer” angle that seems as new as the Walkman. Anyway, everything I’m saying is practically rubbish because it doesn’t matter, just like this movie doesn’t matter. But in a weird, offensive way, it sort of does.

See, they make a man strip-down half-naked! Damn woman!!

See, they make a man strip-down to being half-naked! Damn women!!

See, what’s so strange about this material is how the film treats its main subject, making us believe that not only can somebody who looks and acts like Paula Patton, NOT find a dude that she could love and settle down with before she hit her 40’s, but that it’s right for somebody like her to find someone that she could love and settle down with. I get why her mother feels like she should, but that’s excusable. Once the movie starts to point its big finger at Montana and tell her that she must get married, she must find that special person, and that she must do it before her little sissy does, honestly, just felt wrong to me. And yes, this is coming from a dude.

It’s pretty weird to see that we could have a chick-flick, rom-com that actually speaks against a woman being her own, independent-being, and more for finding somebody that she can be with, mainly because she has to. Not because she necessarily wants to, but because she needs to so that she can prove a point and not look like such a unlovable wretch in front of every person she meets. To me, this all just felt wrong, and supremely outdated since feminism sure as hell has come a long way since, say, I don’t know, the 1950’s!!!

But honestly, this is just me trying my damn near hardest to try and get past the fact of the matter with this movie; the fact which is that it’s just not funny. I understand that most of these rom-coms are going to follow the same formula, with the same rhythms, beats, conventions, clichés, etc., but there has to be something, hell, anything to get me happy, laughing, and the least bit interested in this material as it’s playing-out. But no, nothing. I couldn’t find anything really, so I just paid attention to its central message, and realized that it’s a bunch of crap that no woman should take to heart, let alone even take notice to. And I get that most women will want to see this movie and think that it’s an empowering-statement of how women should be able to choose who they want to spend their lives with, regardless of what others/society think, but I don’t think that the movie even goes that far, let alone scratches that surface. It just wants to be a goofy, silly, and dumb romantic-comedy that’s supposed to have a meaningful heart, but comes off as somewhat mean-spirtied.

Not fully, but somewhat. However, I’m just going to quit it while I’m ahead because I sound like a complete nut talking about the meaning and understanding behind a movie like Baggage Claim.

Seriously, where has my mind gone?

I wonder what has HER so shocked. No, I seriously wonder.

I wonder what has HER so shocked. No, I seriously wonder.

Okay, anyway, as I was saying about the movie: Yeah, it’s pretty dumb and oddly-delivered, but the cast is good and charming, and I think that’s worth talking about, let alone praising. It should come as no surprise that Paula Patton would get a chance to have her own rom-com vehicle, seeing as that she’s been getting to be a bigger and bigger star by the role she turns in (and who she’s “sadly” married to), and she is charming enough to make her character work for awhile. Montana isn’t as much of a bore to watch as most of the female lead-characters in these dry rom-coms are, but she isn’t necessarily “different” either. She’s always running, always looking to get laid by the hottest man possible, and always has to fall over or hit something when she’s trying to be cool or swift. It’s the exact type of character you’d expect from a rom-com of this nature, but Patton pulls it off well and makes you forget about her character’s many, MANY, shortcomings.

And as for everybody else, well, they’re all fine and sometimes very charming, but ultimately, feel wasted on some pretty cruddy material. The only two who really deserve credit among this supporting cast is Jill Scott and Adam Brody as Montana’s two best-friends who bicker and bat with one another, yet, still love and help their friend whenever she needs it the most. There’s something endearingly sweet to them, but also hilarious to watch because they hold great screen-chemistry together and had me laughing whenever they had something to say. Especially Brody, who hasn’t been this funny since, like, like, LIKE, ever. Also, note to future film makers out there: Next time you put Djimon Hounsou in your movie, make sure the dude’s got some sort of facial-hair to cover-up his scary mug. I sound like a dick, I know, but the dude’s got a scary look to him when he’s trying to be nice and charming. Oh well, he can still sure as hell kick my ass, so I better watch what I say.

Consensus: One could get past the unfunny jokes, constant clichés, and downright predictability of Baggage Claim, however, with the sideways-message at the center, you can’t help but be a little turned-off, even when Paula Patton’s beautiful-self is on screen the WHOLE, DAMN TIME.

2.5 / 10 = Crapola!!

She's looking for the best available escape-route.

Just look at her, she’s so looking for the best available escape-route.

Photo’s Credit to: IMDBColliderJobloComingSoon.net

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Think Like a Man (2012)

Whoever knew that the dude who hosts family feud is a lady killer.

The film is based on four friends who have their love lives shaken up after the women they are pursuing buy Harvey’s book and start taking his advice to heart. When the band of brothers find out that they have been betrayed by one of their own, they conspire to use the book’s teachings to turn the tables.

Steve Harvey is a dude that I think is pretty funny and cool but never did I know that he had this much shit on men, or even African American men for that matter. This man is not only betraying all men but also his own race as well. Harvey better keep on checking behind his back from now on.

Instead of telling off the whole self-help book for a whole 2 hours, the film revolves around a bunch of people who get into relationships and do the normal thing that people in relationships usually do: go out, fall in love, get into a big fight, break-up, then get back together. This is the formula for almost every rom-com and just because this one is based on an actual best-seller, doesn’t mean that there’s much new to see here either. However, it is still a pleasant comedy none the less. I won’t lie, I definitely did have a couple of pretty good laughs here and there and what liked most about this film’s humor was that it had a lot of scenes where guys would just constantly mess with each other about their woman and love lives. It’s always fun to see this kind of stuff be portrayed in movies because with guys, it happens all the time and is usually very funny for the guys that aren’t getting picked on.

The problem is that it can only go so far because once these “romantic” stories start up, things start to fall apart for this film real quickly. It’s biggest problem here is that since there are about 4 or 5 stories here, that means we have 4 o 5 stories that basically all play out the same, exact way with little, different variations here and there. The relationships starts out exactly like each person wanted, but then the males start to realize that “their game” is being taken from them, courtesy of Harvey’s book. Therefore, they go out and find a way to turn the tables on the ladies and give them what they want and tell them what they want to hear, even if they don’t do what they say in the first place. This gets repetitive after awhile as we see almost every story just turn out the same as the one before it. It doesn’t matter if you watch rom-coms or not, you can pretty much guess what’s going to happen to these characters and their relationships just by noticing the formula here.

This probably wouldn’t have been so bad if it weren’t for the really lame-ass characters that are all pretty much one-dimensional with the exception of a few. These characters get put into these categories early on in the film and then we see how they interact with the opposite sex, and that’s pretty much all of the charisma and development to them. Sometimes this film will try and correct this mistake by giving us a background check on some of these characters like when Romany Malco’s character starts to miss his R&B band that he used to play with, or like how Jerry Ferrara’s character can’t get rid of his geekdom, or that for some odd reason, Terrence J can’t get past the fact that he’s a momma’s boy and she isn’t going to appreciate anybody he brings home. Honestly, none of these characters have much going for them and as much as these stars may try their hardest to make it work, the thin script just sort of ends up taking over.

The characters that I did like and could at least appreciate were also the best performances in this cast, which isn’t saying much but still, it’s worth some sort of praise. I liked Michael Ealy a lot as the chef with dreams, Dominic. Ealy has always been a pretty solid actor for the longest time but keeps on getting put in crap that doesn’t show what he can do with his depth but I think his performance here is pretty good and gives us a character that is easy to like and identify with since we all want to do something with our lives and achieve our dreams one day. Just like me, maybe one day I can hope of being the next Roger Ebert. Then again, it’s very unlikely.

The other great performance was from fellow Philadelphian, Kevin Hart, who plays the “happily” divorced Cedric. Hart is so funny here with this material because he has this great comedic timing where he can make a script like this even more ridiculous than it already is. Hart has always been funny but he gets the biggest laughs here and also has the best character that obviously is bitter towards his divorce, but every time he shows up on-screen, he pretty much just steals it from everybody else who shares it with him. Hopefully, this film may get him some more attention and place him in better comedies because with his charm and over-the-top small guy shtick, he can go pretty far.

Consensus: Think Like a Man has a couple of good laughs, mainly because of Kevin Hart and many others in this large cast, but what really takes away from this flick is its predictable and cliched solutions, that wouldn’t be so bad in the first place if these characters weren’t so damn one-dimensional in the first place.

5/10=Rental!!