Title: Excess Baggage
Released: 1997

Fix: The 90s, Grand Theft Auto, Hot Car Thieves, Unexpected Romances, Harry Connick Jr., Twin Peaks aesthetic
Platforms: HBO Max

HBO Max Summary:
In this comic crime caper, rich girl Alicia Silverstone botches her own ‘kidnapping’ and winds up in cahoots with a young car thief. He’s being chased by two louts, and they’re all sought by a spooky hit man!

FYA Summary:

Oh the time is NIGH my friends. I have been waiting years, YEARS, for this movie to finally be available on a streaming platform so I could revert to my 15-year-old self and start bullying everyone I know to watch it. In Excess Baggage, Emily is desperate for a little love and attention from her filthy rich father, but the guy only cares about his bank account and offshore assets. So to get his attention, she fakes her own kidnapping, and tips off the police to her whereabouts, just before duct-taping herself up and locking herself in the trunk of her own car.

A moment later, Vincent shows up to steal a car from this particular parking garage and sees a shiny BMW at the ready. It isn’t until Vincent makes it back to his warehouse that he realizes there was a girl in the trunk – a girl with a lot of people looking for her. Vincent needs to dump Emily outside of town without getting caught up in the manhunt, but a series of capers finds the unlikely duo on the lam…and maybe even falling in love.

Familiar Faces:

Alicia Silverstone smiles in front of a lake and mountains

Alicia Silverstone as Emily

Silverstone was still riding that Clueless high when this came out, and this might’ve been an attempt to break away from a stereotype, but Emily isn’t all that different from Cher really. She traded her goody two shoes for cigarettes and smudged eyeliner, but at the end of the day, a rich princess is still a rich princess. It doesn’t make her any less enjoyable to watch though.

benicio del toro looks confused, wears an orange jacket

Benicio del Toro as Vincent

Benicio goes full quirk as Vincent, the car thief who accidentally steals Emily’s car while she’s in the trunk. He is NOT trying to catch a kidnapping charge, so he spends the entire movie muttering to himself and being amusingly fed up with Emily’s antics. I’ll admit the age gap between Emily and Vincent is a big one, but idk! It works here, despite Emily’s SERIOUS daddy issues.

Harry Connick Jr. as Greg

Vincent’s partner in (literal) crime is Greg. He’s the smooth-talking, fake-Rolex wearing used car salesman who plays foil to Vincent, and I find him hilarious in this role.

Christopher Walken as Uncle Ray

In exactly the sort of role you’d expect from Walken, Uncle Ray is Emily’s scary, mafia uncle – the one her piece of crap dad brings in to do all his dirty work. And that includes hunting down the people who kidnapped her (mostly to get his ransom money back). But Walken adds his little special sauce, because instead of being JUST her scary mafia uncle, it’s clear that Ray cares far more deeply for Emily than her father does.

Couch-Sharing Capability: High

Excess Baggage walks the line between rom-com and crime caper. Olds like me revel in the throwback 90s fashions, while youngs will…also revel in the throwback 90s fashion (as Gen Z tends to do). The jokes are still funny and it has managed to make it this long without feeling cringe.

Recommended Level of Inebriation: Viewer’s Choice

Alcohol is definitely not required. The setting of this movie reminds me of Twin Peaks: the midcentury diners, the Knotty Pines hotel, vintage neon signs reflecting on rainy streets, the foggy Pacific Northwest/Canadian backdrop lit up by a pair of headlights. The vibe calls for a damn fine cup of coffee served in that very specific style of mug.

Use of Your Streaming Subscription: They Don’t Make Them Like They Used To

They really don’t. This is 90-minutes of standalone, good time fun. It’s got romance, it’s got car chases, it’s got an explosion or two. It’s got Harry Connick Jr. saying “Gosh!” and Red House Painters singing “All Mixed Up.” What else do you need?

Rosemary lives in Little Rock, AR with her husband and cocker spaniel. At 16, she plucked a copy of Sloppy Firsts off the "New Releases" shelf and hasn't stopped reading YA since. She is a brand designer who loves tiki drinks, her mid-century modern house, and obsessive Google mapping.