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'Jump Tomorrow'

Last days of bachelorhood

Friday, September 14, 2001

By Barbara Vancheri, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

Everyone keeps telling George Abiola (Tunde Adebimpe) to "Smile! You're getting married." His office colleagues who pop champagne chant the marriage mantra. The jeweler who sells him a gold band repeats it.

 
    'JUMP TOMORROW'

RATING: PG for thematic material, mild sensuality, language.

STARRING: Tunde Adebimpe, Natalia Verbeke

DIRECTOR: Joel Hopkins

CRITIC'S CALL:

 
 

He responds with a forced, nervous grin that indicates he is ambivalent -- at best -- about his impending wedding in Niagara, N.Y. He is marrying a childhood friend named Sophie whom he hasn't seen in two or three years. The marriage has long been arranged by her family and his aunt and uncle, who raised George after his Nigerian parents died when he was a child.

Writer-director Joel Hopkins' "Jump Tomorrow," opening at the Denis Theater, charmingly charts what could be George's final days of bachelorhood. His quirky adventure is reminiscent of a delightful bouncy '60s comedy, right down to the PG rating and merry music that includes "Hitchin' a Ride" and John Lennon's "Instant Karma."

George is a straitlaced, socially awkward man who takes a "Marriage for Beginners" class and gets tips on the acceptable distance to stand from another human being.

Everything begins to change when George goes to the airport to pick up Sophie -- a day late, it turns out. He meets a pretty Latina named Alicia (Natalia Verbeke) who is using the pay phone next to his and a despondent Frenchman named Gerard (Hippolyte Giradot) who just proposed to his girlfriend and was turned down. Gerard is a big believer in love. Make that Love or, as his license plate reads, "Amour."

George feels an instant connection to Alicia and unexpectedly ends up going to a party she's throwing -- partly to cheer up Gerard. Turns out she and her English boyfriend are moving to Canada. When Gerard volunteers to drive George to his wedding, they find themselves tracking Alicia and her boyfriend Nathan (James Wilby) -- although they're not sure to what end.

"Jump Tomorrow," advice first issued by George when Gerard threatens to leap from a building, is a swirl of romantic comedy, road movie and buddy flick. Some of the humor comes in unexpected ways, as when George becomes addicted to a Spanish-language soap opera and finds himself in a motel where the lounge entertainment is a group called Shards of Glass.

In a movie world where destiny and love at first sight are familiar themes, "Jump Tomorrow" gives them a fresh twist. Maybe it's the continental casting -- George's Nigerian heritage, Alicia's Hispanic background, Gerard's staunch belief in all things French and how that clashes with Nathan's English pretentiousness.

Or perhaps it's the kicky music, trip through upstate New York to Niagara Falls and uncertainty about whether George really will jump into true love or settle for marriage. The refreshing lure of an old-fashioned PG rating is not to be denied, either. When the men stop at The Love Lodge for the night, it's Gerard who climbs into the giant champagne glass-bathtub alone while George mistakenly triggers the vibrating bed, much to his hapless horror.

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