UK/USA 2001 : Joel Hopkins : 96 mins
There aren’t many movies that deserve the olde-worlde compliment ‘beguiling’, but Jump Tomorrow is one of them. Simply put, it wins you over – so don’t be put off by the first half hour, no matter how grating you may find its brand of ‘life affirming’ indie whimsy. It’s a road movie (i.e. journey of personal discovery) with timid Nigerian-American George (Tunde Adebimpe) travelling cross-country for his arranged marriage with a childhood sweetheart. George hasn’t seen the bride-to-be for some years, but it’s what his family wants, and he isn’t the sort to make waves. Until, that is, he hooks up with a manic-depressive Frenchman (Hippolyte Girardot) and a shapely Mexican firecracker, Alicia (Natalia Verbeke), who offer some tempting new horizons …
It’s all somewhat indie-by-numbers : the direction, script, acting, cinematography, music, editing and genre are of a familiar ‘alternative’ style, telling a fairly predictable romantic tale with a gentle, character based style of humour that’s also far from innovative. But few films are so puppyish in their sunny desire to be liked, so generous towards their characters’ foibles and weaknesses.
Adebimpe makes a handsome match for Verbeke – think Penelope Cruz’s younger sister – but his performance too often veers towards the over-mannered, which is unfortunate as he’s central to almost every scene. He only really comes alive during brief fantasy sequences recreating the film’s events in the style of lurid Hispanic TV soaps, when George (or ‘Jorge’) sheds his buttoned-up neuroses and becomes a strutting macho love-machine.
Just as some music can be filed under ‘easy listening,’ Jump Tomorrow is determinedly ‘easy watching,’ with an engaging, mildly quirky sense of humour that manages to stay the right side of the charming/insufferable divide. A real plus is the production design which makes amusingly quirky use of weird props, furniture and interior spaces – watch for a hyper-stylised disco sequence that brings new meanings to the term ‘ square dancing.’
23rd October, 2001
(seen Oct-23-01, Warner Village Leeds – Leeds Film Festival)
by Neil Young
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