"Smile! You're getting married." That's what George (Tunde Adebimpe) keeps being told in Joel Hopkins' debut feature, "Jump Tomorrow." But far from smiling, George is a timid, obedient Nigerian son who is unsure about his upcoming arranged marriage to a woman he barely knows. Looking like a cross between Buddy Holly and Sidney Poitier, George meets at the airport a voluptuous Latin girl named Alicia (Natalia Verbeke), who spontaneously invites him to a party. Along with Gerard (Hippolyte Girardot), a lovesick Frenchman who has just been dumped by his girlfriend, George attends the party and learns that Alicia and her narcissistic boyfriend Nathan (James Wilby) are heading in the same direction as George's wedding. Now smitten with Alicia, George decides to follow them.
This sets in motion the road-trip scenario that's the heart of "Jump Tomorrow." George tracks Alicia and gets some love lessons from Gerard, who's an amusing cocktail of helpless French romantic and washed-up loner. Hopkins' whimsical, breezy visual style and light touches carry much of the movie, which ends predictably with George and Alicia finally getting together. Most of the scenes are full of bright comic-book props, and the campy soundtrack gives the film a nice surreal gloss. And George's encounters with Alicia's family as well as his Mexi-can soap-opera fantasies are hysterical.
But Hopkins' script is ultimately too thin and predictable to be completely satisfying. Characters are brought together by a host of unlikely circumstances, and there is never any credible obstacles keeping Alicia and George apart. Nathan is roundly horrible, and George's looming wedding is derailed with just a few words. "Jump Tomorrow" takes the easy way out one too many times; it's a good, quirky comedy but it won't leave you smiling for long.