“Smile! You’re getting married!” That’s what people keep telling George (Tunde Adebimpe), a timid, bespectacled man who, following tradition, is about to become one half of an arranged marriage in “Jump Tomorrow.”
George doesn’t want to marry this girl, who is being flown to America from their native Nigeria. He doesn’t want to do a lot of things, but his weak will prevents him from ever speaking up.
While at the airport to pick up his fiancee, he meets Alicia (Natalia Verbeke), a spicy Latin girl who invites him to a party. He also runs into Gerard (Hippolyte Girardot), a lovesick Frenchman who has just been dumped by his girlfriend.
Having only a few days of freedom left, George, flanked by Gerard, goes to Alicia’s party. There he meets her fiance, Nathan (James Wilby), a pretentious Englishman. Alicia and Nathan are planning to hitchhike toward Canada; by coincidence, George has to head that way for his wedding. The three of them, plus the now-omnipresent Gerard, wind up traveling together.
Director Joel Hopkins has a delightful touch that, given a better script, could make a truly wonderful movie. (Hopkins wrote the screenplay, too, so it’s his own fault this one doesn’t entirely succeed.) He uses a lot of basic comic-strip colors — bright red phones, green walls, etc. — and employs a mildly kitschy musical soundtrack with everything from bossa nova to big band. He knows how to stage a good scene, too, as evidenced by Gerard and Nathan’s amusing France vs. England debate, and the crazy robot-boxstep choreography at the party. George’s Mexican soap opera fantasies are very funny, too.
But “Jump Tomorrow” takes the easy way out too often; in fact, I can’t think of a time when it doesn’t. The plot is Romantic Comedy 101, but it’s simplified even for that genre. There’s never any suspense whether Alicia will leave Nathan for George, because Nathan is a jerk. Couples wind up alone together for absurdly convenient reasons. The whole affair is fun and light, to be sure; so fun and light it almost floats away.
B (; )