Excess Baggage is a romantic comedy lacking in romance, comedy or brains. Its star power is its only selling point, but don’t let that sway you.
Emily Hope (Alicia Silverstone) is a spoiled rich girl, who only wants attention from her distant father (Jack Thompson). Her latest scheme is a doozy: she fakes her own kidnapping, and hides in the trunk of her car, waiting for dear old daddy to rescue her. However, things don’t go as planned. While tied up in her trunk, a professional car thief (Benicio Del Toro) steals her car.
Soon, he and his buddy (Harry Connick Jr) look like the prime suspects to be the kidnappers, as Emily refuses to give in. Before they know it, they are being chased by the cops, some lowlife hoods (Nick Turturro and Michael Bowen), and Emily’s “Uncle Ray” (Christopher Walken), a shady bodyguard of her father.
As the spoiled heiress, Silverstone never endears herself to the audience. The film starts out in the middle of her plot, giving hope that perhaps some endearing traits will emerge later on. Nope, it never happens. The only reason to care for Emily at all is that she’s played by Alicia Silverstone, and that’s not reason enough.
Del Toro fares a little better. Not only do you have some sympathy with his character for having to suffer Silverstone, but he at least has a few character traits besides pouty and annoying. Christopher Walken, however, steals every scene he’s in (not a hard task considering), and he doesn’t even stretch much in his performance.
The biggest downfall of Excess Baggage is its ludicrous dialogue. Some of it seems to be ad-lib banter that is laughibly horrible. Most of it makes little sense.
And the plot doesn’t help much either. The whole thing rests on forced coincidences and some rather bad decision-making. It’s quite a big chunk of salt you’ll need to swallow this one.
Alicia Silverstone fanatics are probably the only audience for this one. Excess Baggage will make sure their numbers don’t grow.