Excess Baggage

Excess Baggage, directed by Marco Brambilla but under the creative
control of Alicia Silverstone stars the rather pudgy Miss Silverstone as Emily
Hope, a poor little rich girl, always getting into trouble, who stages her own
kidnapping so that her brute of a father, who is a shady businessman in Seattle
who is not overeager to get involved with the police, will take some notice of
her. “I wanted to make my father
feel,” she says in an unsuccessful
attempt to account for her actions.
“How am I supposed to explain 18 years
of feeling unwanted and unwelcome?” It
is a question she might well have asked herself before making this film.

But as she is lying in the trunk of her BMW, bound by her own hand, waiting
for rescue, the car is stolen by a car thief called Vincent (Benicio Del Toro).
Since it is the movies, it is entirely predictable that the thief is a decent
sort who doesn’t want to hurt anyone
and can only think of how to get this girl out of the garage where all his
stolen cars are kept and back to her family unharmed. A natural trouble maker,
however, Emily manages to set the place on fire with a cigarette and get her
captor/rescuer in trouble not only with the law, who are looking for her
kidnapper, but with his colleagues in the hot car business, who
didn’t bank on their cars becoming as
hot as this.

Vincent’s plan is to drive her a
long way out of the city and drop her by the side of the road, but the plans
change when he sees a TV news report about the burning of his garage and the
fact that her car was found among the ruins. He drives back to pick her up
again, desperate that she should exculpate him. He begs her first to get back in
the car with him and then to call her father to tell him that she is all rght,
but instead she begins the conversation by suggesting that he is not only a
kidnapper but a child molester. And now he
can’t leave her because she handcuffs
herself to his precious Aston Martin.

Meanwhile, the two of them are being pursued by (1) the police, (2)
Vincent’s partners in the car-theft
ring who think he has absconded with $200,000 of their money and torched his own
garage and (3) her father’s
associate and fixer who calls himself
Ray” (Christopher Walken). Ray, of
course, is far more efficient than the police and tracks down the two of them.
Since it is the movies, however, we are not surprised, that by the time that
Uncle Ray catches up with them, Emily has grown rather sweet on Vincent. She
refuses to allow Uncle Ray to pin the kidnapping on him, as is his plan. They
escape from Uncle Ray together and enjoy a night of love before the bad car
thieves catch up with them.

Since it is the movies, you can probably guess what happens next. It is
enough to say that Uncle Ray, a very scary character, decides that Vincent is
all right after all. Though her dreadful father refuses to pay a second ransom,
it’s OK because now
she’s got another crook to take care
of her. It’s a heartwarming story, of
course, but one of those where you
can’t help wondering just how long
Vincent, whose ambition it is to open a chain of karaoke bars in Brazil, will be
sticking around. A good thing he’s a
good thief or we might fear for the lovely
Emily’s happily-ever-after.

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