Excess Baggage (1997 film)

Excess Baggage is a 1997 American crime-comedy film written by Max D. Adams, Dick Clement, and Ian La Frenais, and directed by Marco Brambilla about a neglected young woman who stages her own kidnapping to get her father's attention, only to be actually kidnapped by a car thief. The film stars Alicia Silverstone (who was also an uncredited producer), Benicio del Toro, and Christopher Walken.

Excess Baggage
Excess baggage poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMarco Brambilla
Produced byBill Borden
Carolyn Kessler
Screenplay byMax D. Adams
Dick Clement
Ian La Frenais
Story byMax D. Adams
Music byJohn Lurie
CinematographyJean-Yves Escoffier
Edited byStephen Rivkin
Distributed bySony Pictures Releasing
Release date
  • August 29, 1997 (1997-08-29)
Running time
98 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$20 million
Box office$14,515,490[1]


Emily Hope (Alicia Silverstone) stages her own kidnapping to get the attention of her father. She puts herself into the trunk of her own car (a BMW 850i), tapes her legs and mouth, handcuffs her hands and calls the police so they can come "rescue" her. But then, unexpectedly, a car thief named Vincent Roche (Benicio del Toro) steals the car with her in it. Suddenly, Emily finds herself actually kidnapped, only the kidnapper doesn’t know what to do with her. Christopher Walken shows up as Emily’s Uncle Ray, Jack Thompson as Emily’s father, and Harry Connick, Jr., as Greg, Vincent’s car-stealing partner.


The script for Excess Baggage was the winner of the first annual Austin Film Festival Screenplay Competition where it was picked up by Barry Josephson when he was at Sony and made into the 1997 comedy starring Alicia Silverstone.[2]


  • Alicia Silverstone as Emily Hope, a rich girl with a black belt in karate and a tendency for trouble. She had burned down her school library, perhaps to get the attention of her father when she was younger. Her relationship with her father is quite cold, but she has a solid friendship with her Uncle Ray and builds one with Vincent after he accidentally abducts her.
  • Benicio del Toro as Vincent Roche, a successful and experienced car thief who supports himself with his work. He is referred to as "an innocent thief" who happens to steal the car with Emily in the trunk. After this his entire life is turned upside down as he gets implicated in several schemes and becomes dependent on his "hostage" to survive.
  • Christopher Walken as Raymond "Uncle Ray" Perkins, Emily's uncle and cares for her well-being much more than her own father. He also suspects that this kidnapping situation is not a real kidnapping and might be one of Emily's "games" to get some much craved attention from her dad. His first encounters with Vincent are rather hostile, but the two eventually form a camaraderie.
  • Jack Thompson as Alexander T. Hope, Emily's father and a very rich and successful businessman. He also pays little to no attention to his daughter, which often leads to her performing such outrageous stunts to get it as burning down her school library or staging her own kidnapping; these tend to backfire as the more effort she invests in trying to get him to pay attention to her, the less he sees fit to pay to her. It is hinted that his business deals may be corrupt.
  • Harry Connick Jr. as Greg Kistler, Vincent's partner-in-crime, but it appears that Vincent does most of the work. They steal cars and sell them to people like Gus and Stick, which eventually lands them into trouble when their operation is burned down and Vincent is on the lam.
  • Nicholas Turturro and Michael Bowen as Stick and Gus, two hoodlums who have had business transactions which Vincent and Greg but eventually turn on them.
  • Leland Orser and Robert Wisden as Detectives Bernaby and Sims, two detectives who are investigating Emily's "kidnapping".
  • Sally Kirkland as Louise Doucette, a bartender/waitress at a cafe near Vincent's home. Ray gets information about Vincent from her during his investigation of the kidnapping. She only appears in two scenes.

The film features cameo appearances by voice-actor David Kaye, April Telek and Matthew Robert Kelly, all of them uncredited.


This was the first film produced by Alicia Silverstone under her production company First Kiss and was filmed in Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia. The yellow leather jacket worn by Silverstone's character was sold to actor/stand-up comic Paul Rawson for $890. The jacket also came with Silverstone's black suede pants and lipstick print t-shirt.[3] Silverstone was nominated for a Razzie Award for Worst Actress where she lost to Demi Moore for G.I. Jane.[4]


Benicio del Toro was hand-picked for the role by producer Silverstone after she had seen The Usual Suspects (1995). It is also reported that Silverstone and del Toro dated around the time of filming.[5] Del Toro was nominated for an ALMA Award for Outstanding Individual Performance in a Crossover Role in a Feature Film.[4]

Christopher Walken previously worked with del Toro in two other 1996 films, Basquiat and The Funeral. He would later star in Blast from the Past (1999) with Silverstone two years later. "I don't know why everybody thinks he's so crazy," Silverstone noted. "I think he seems so adorable. I think maybe I was his mom in a past life or something."[6] Del Toro stated that the best advice he had ever been given regarding acting came from Walken: "When you're in a scene and you don't know what you're gonna do, don't do anything."[6]


Excess Baggage debuted poorly in its opening weekend.[7] By the end of its run, it had only grossed $14,515,490 based on a $20 million budget.

The film received mostly mixed responses from critics and currently holds a 32% "Rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The site's consensus states: "Struggling to find a romantic spark in a seedy premise, Excess Baggage is weighed down by a lot of comedic dead weight."[8] Clint Morris noted that the film "Outstays its welcome after a while, but Silverstone fans will still be in heaven - she's as cute as ever, and as cool as ever.[citation needed]". It received two thumbs up on the August 30, 1997 episode of Siskel & Ebert, with Gene Siskel labelling it "much better" than Brambilla's previous 1993 film Demolition Man.[9] In his review for the Chicago Sun-Times, Roger Ebert stated that Alicia Silverstone was "wonderful" in Clueless, which was so entertaining that no followup could satisfy the audience. Ebert mentioned Silverstone is "OK" in Excess Baggage but "no better than OK" as he felt that she was miscast.[10] James Berardinelli praised the cast but found the script "frustratingly ordinary and unambitious".[11] Many critics praised Benicio del Toro's performance. Del Toro earned an ALMA Award nomination for his performance.

Home mediaEdit

Excess Baggage was released on VHS and DVD in February 1998.[12] It was released on Blu-ray by Mill Creek Entertainment in June 2019, as part of their "I Love the 90s" line. Reviews of the picture and sound quality for the 2019 release were negative, with it being labelled "heavily processed" and "a mess".[13]


  1. ^ "Excess Baggage (1997)". Box Office Mojo. 1997-09-26. Retrieved 2010-10-09.
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ Trivia for Excess Baggage
  4. ^ a b Excess Baggage awards list
  5. ^ "AliciaSilverstone at". Hollywood.com. Retrieved 2010-10-09.
  6. ^ a b Celeb Quotes & Stories
  7. ^ "G.I. Jane' Proves Its Mettle in Second Week at Box Office". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-27.
  8. ^ Excess Baggage at Rotten Tomatoes
  9. ^ Ebert, Roger; Siskel, Gene (31 August 1997). She's So Lovely/Hoodlum/Excess Baggage/Paperback Romance/M/Le Samurai. Buena Vista Television.
  10. ^ Excess Baggage - Roger Ebert review
  11. ^ Reelviews review
  12. ^ [2]. DVD Release Dates.
  13. ^ Excess Baggage. Blu-ray.com. 18 June 2019.

External linksEdit