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"EXCESS BAGGAGE"
(1997) (Alicia Silverstone, Benicio Del Toro) (PG-13)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Moderate Minor Heavy Minor Moderate
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Moderate None Minor None Moderate
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Mild Moderate Mild Mild Moderate


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: A rich, but neglected teenage heiress' plot to kidnap herself goes awry when a carjacker steals the car she's in and then becomes the suspect in her "disappearance."
PLOT:
Emily (ALICIA SILVERSTONE) is the rich, but emotionally neglected daughter of Alexander Hope (JACK THOMPSON), a wealthy businessman who puts more stock in his business than in her. A perennial troublemaker, Emily believes she's come up with the perfect plan to make her father notice her. She plots her own kidnaping by locking herself in a car trunk, and then awaits her paternal rescue. What she didn't plan on, however, was for Vincent (BENICIO DEL TORO), a professional car thief, to come along and steal her car and ruin her plan. Vincent and his partner, Greg (HARRY CONNICK JR.), are surprised to find their new booty, and even more surprised when Ray (CHRISTOPHER WALKEN), Emily's hitman-like uncle, decides to get his niece back. Soon the two car thieves are implicated in the fake kidnaping, and then have two of their thug associates, Stick (NICHOLAS TURTURRO) and Gus (MICHAEL BOWEN), come after them when Ray takes money owed to them. In the meantime, Emily and Vincent fall for each other which only adds more complications to her original plan and from that point on they must try to get everything back to normal.
WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're fans of Silverstone (star of "Clueless" and the many Aerosmith music videos she appeared in) they probably will.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
For violence, drinking and sex-related dialogue.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • ALICIA SILVERSTONE plays a troubled heiress who's become a "bad girl" to draw attention to herself. She also smokes a great deal, and drinks and curses as well. She also defends Vincent, a professional car thief, as an "innocent thief."
  • BENICIO DEL TORO plays a slightly confused, but harmless professional car thief.
  • The rest of major characters aren't good role models as they play other car thieves, bad fathers, or hitman-like relatives.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    OUR TAKE: 2 out of 10
    An emotionally and viscerally flat late summer production, "Excess Baggage" is destined for a quick run in the theaters before making a beeline for the home video market. Much of the blame for that lays directly on Silverstone's shoulders. Not only does she create a boring, inconsistent and usually listless character, but she also served as the film's co-producer and thus was responsible for hiring the cast and crew, as well as reworking the script. The movie's premise seems interesting and promising enough, but the execution is poor and boredom sets in rather quickly. Silverstone's usual charm occasionally peeks through her hardened teenage rebel character, but not often enough to make the audience care for her or her predicament. In fact she was better playing this sort of role in the series of Aerosmith music videos that brought attention to her in the late 80's and 90's than she is in the film. The fact that at one moment she plays a karate wielding take no prisonsers character and the next she's a sniveling, defenseless young lady isn't believable and only adds to the film's overall absense of quality control. Del Toro's character is moderately interesting, but certainly not enough to carry the film that Silverstone also fails to do. Of course we're supposed to revel in the fact that those two instantly don't get along and then be surprised when they start to like and then fall for each other, but we've seen all of this many times before. Harry Connick, Jr., who's proven to be a very versatile and charismatic actor in other roles, is completely wasted here. Even Christopher Walken, who delivers his usual intense, creepy performance and is about the only redeeming element of the film, doesn't really do anything different from what we've seen him do in the past. That holds true for most of the movie as the film makers also include the obligatory car chase that in this case is neither exciting nor even interesting, but does end with the standard police cars crashing into each other. The film's few original moments land in the realm of the stupid or unbelievable. In one, Silverstone opens a car trunk from the inside, where she's located, and in another scene, Vincent and Emily drive along at night in a stolen car with the interior dome light on -- an act that allows us to see them, but presumably would also draw attention to them driving along in a stolen car. Half way through the film the obligatory soundtrack begins and while the songs are okay, none are outstanding, or do anything for the film (other than to sell the soundtrack to the female teens who will make up most of the audience). The people responsible for this film seem not to have put any thought toward the intelligence of that target audience -- or anyone else for that matter -- and believe that just by showcasing Silverstone as a bad girl they'll entertain the female teenage crowd. While that may hold true in some instances, all it really accomplishes is making this film bad. That's what "Excess Baggage" is and we consequently give it just a 2 out of 10.
    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Since many teenage girls idolize Silverstone, her behavior in this film is probably parents' number one concern. Not only does she smoke and drink throughout the film, but she also exudes a major case of "bad girl" attitude and blames it on the lack of love and attention from her father. While that may be true, she's old enough to know better and the fact that she stages her own kidnaping is further proof that she's a bad role model. The film also showcases car thieves, some non-lethal violence and 10+ "s" words along with an assortment of others. Since many teens will probably want to see this film, you should definitely look through the material to determine whether it's appropriate for them to see.

    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Alexander and Ray have drinks.
  • Greg and his date have wine with dinner.
  • Vincent takes a swig of whiskey from a bottle and Emily then does the same.
  • Vincent orders Scotch on the rocks, but it's Emily who drinks it.
  • Emily and Vincent are slightly drunk after drinking many of the little sample liquor bottles found in their hotel room.
  • Stick drinks a beer in a pool hall.
  • Emily and Vincent drink wine in the truck of her car.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Wildlife footage briefly seen on TV shows several hyenas tearing apart a bloody carcass.
  • Vincent holds a bloody towel under his nose after being beaten up, but his nose isn't bloody. Additionally Greg has some bloody bruises on his face.
  • Just a little bit of blood comes from Gus' shoulder after he's been shot.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Nearly every character has some of both types of attitude. Emily is a troublemaker (who stages her own kidnaping and is reported to have burned down a school earlier in her life), Vincent and his buddies/associates are professional car thieves, Ray is some sort of family hitman, and Emily's dad doesn't seem to care about his daughter.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Some may find scenes listed under "Violence" as tense, but they aren't intentionally made that way.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • The police are occasionally seen with handguns, shotguns, or rifles.
  • Handguns: Used by Ray, Stick, and Gus to threaten people. In addition, Ray shoots Gus in the shoulder. See "Violence" for details.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Freakin," "Faggot," "Hard on," "Screwy," "Go to hell," "Shut up," "Screw" (non sexual), "Scumbag," "Jerk off" (adjective, not a verb), and "D*ckhead."
  • Emily smokes and drinks throughout most of the movie.
  • Emily sets up her own faked kidnaping (including taping and gagging herself and then hiding in a car trunk) just to get attention from her dad.
  • Vincent and his associates steal cars, and in one scene, Emily steals a truck so that she and Vincent can escape from Ray.
  • Greg has a brief attack of pelvic thrusting when he sees an expensive car.
  • Emily twice gives "the finger" to Vincent who later returns the gesture to her.
  • Emily and Vincent catch a ride on a truck and hold on to the side of it while driving down the road.
  • Stick and Gus throw Emily in the trunk of their car, and later Emily and Vincent drink and make out in a car trunk and then close themselves in it.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • There's a minor amount of tense music in just a few scenes.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • 11 "s" words, 1 slang term using male genitals (the "d" word), 9 asses (3 using "hole"), 6 hells, 6 damns, 1 S.O.B., 1 crap, and 3 uses of "Jesus Christ," 2 uses each of "Jesus," "For Christ's sakes," and "God," and 1 use each of "For God's sakes" and "Christ" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Scenes in a small diner are purposefully shot so that the ample bosom of a waitress is obviously seen in her tight fitting T-shirt.
  • When talking to her father on a pay phone, Emily suddenly blurts out, "Daddy, he made me touch his penis" (which isn't true).
  • A woman on a date with Greg shows quite a bit of cleavage.
  • It's slightly implied that Vincent and Emily may have slept together as they drunkenly kiss in their hotel room and are then seen together early the next day.
  • SMOKING
  • Emily smokes throughout the movie.
  • Stick smokes a cigar in a few scenes.
  • A detective smokes in one scene.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Most, if not all, of Emily's behavior is attributed to her need for love, affection, or just plain attention from her father who doesn't want to, can't, or is incapable of delivering that to her. In addition, she mentions that she doesn't remember her mother who died when Emily was three.
  • Emily daydreams about her father happily rescuing her from her staged kidnaping.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Ways to get family attention and love without going to such extreme measures as Emily does in this movie.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Several police cars crash into each other after chasing Vincent.
  • Emily kicks Vincent in the crotch and moments later knees him in the stomach and the face. She then chases after and knocks him down, they roll across the floor and he finally pins her to the floor.
  • Emily, handcuffed in Vincent's bathroom, kicks and finally breaks a mirror.
  • A discarded cigarette catches a warehouse on fire, and later it's seen fully engulfed in flames that cause it to explode.
  • Vincent bends Emily's arm backwards as he tries to get a key from her.
  • Ray confronts Vincent with a handgun.
  • After Emily acts like Ray is her husband and is trying to abuse her, some burly locals in a diner confront Ray. The next thing we see is one of the locals flying through a window to the ground below (implying that Ray tossed him out of it).
  • Vincent is punched and Emily's thrown over a shoulder as both of them are abducted by Stick and Gus who also hold guns on the two. We also see Greg whose bruised face shows that he was hit as well.
  • Emily punches Gus in the face and then kicks him before he grabs her leg and aims his gun at her.
  • Gus and Stick aim their guns at Ray and Vincent. Gus then throws Vincent onto the hood of a car and holds his gun to his head. He then shoots out the window of a Mercedes.
  • After Emily drives a forklift through a wall, Ray shoots Gus in the shoulder and Vincent punches Stick.



  • Reviewed August 29, 1997

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