George Abiola (Tunde Adebimpe) is going to be married in a few short days' time, so he should be delighted, right? But he's an uptight, nervous chap, and seeing as how this is an arranged marriage and he hasn't met the bride-to-be since he was a boy in Nigeria, he cannot work up much enthusiasm for the new step, no matter how much people around him tell him to cheer up. So he goes to meet the woman at the airport only to be told that her plane arrived yesterday and she is already on her way to Niagara Falls for the wedding. However, George bumps into Alicia (Natalia Verbeke), a beautfiul Spanish girl, at the airport and she invites him to a party that night. Should he go?
Alicia isn't the only person George meets at the airport, as there's Gerard (Hippolyte Girardot) there too, which goes some way to setting up the simple plot with economy and grace, two words which aptly describe Jump Tomorrow. It was based on a short film called Jorge, also starring Adebimpe, and opening out of the basic premise that still managed to not seem stretched out and held great charm. Essentially a road movie, our hero finds himself consoling Gerard when his girlfriend not only waves him goodbye at the airport but crushes his hopes of making her his wife.
She even takes the ring with her because she cannot pull it off her finger. At first Gerard is furious, but when he falls into George's arms in the gents' he finds himself consoling the distraught Frenchman. To cheer him up, he asks him along to the party; besides, Alicia wil be there, an example of the magical woman who brightens up the hero's life in movies such as these. However, there's a complication to ensure that the path of true love does not run smooth: yes, Alicia has a boyfriend, Nathan (James Wilby) and they're both emigrating to Canada the next day.
So writer and director Joel Hopkins doesn't make it easy for his lead character, not least because his general reticence means it's difficult for him to take any action that might make him happy. He doesn't really want to get married, but feels the pressure from his family to conform, and now he has met Alicia he has found someone he really wants to be with, entranced at the way she pronounces his name the Spanish way. At that party, he manages to talk Gerard down from a drunken suicide attempt and as reward for that favour Gerard volunteers to drive him to Niagara Falls.
George is the kind of person who would simply go with the flow, let the tide of other people buffet him along through life, so he needs someone who will wind him up and point him in the right direction so he can realise his true potential. Gerard is that man, and on their journey they find themselves on the same roads as the hithchhiking Alicia and Nathan, eventually their paths crossing so they give them a lift. Along the way they stop off at Alicia's home to see her family, and Alicia's grandfather is another of those people prompting George to follow his heart. But will he? Although it seems straightforward, we're never quite sure if the ending will go for the happy or the bittersweet, and while you could accuse Jump Tomorrow of being rather twee, it's genuinely funny and heartwarming where it counts. Music by John Kimbrough.