Malcolm (Shamier Anderson) and Maya (Amber Stevens West) meet at a diner, both of them having their own special conundrums. Maya’s is that she broke up with a man she just met, Mtumbie (Demetrius Grosse), a South African playboy. She was gong to break the news to her father Ed (Keith David). Instead of losing face in front of a disapproving father, she instead pretends that business back in South Africa is delaying Mtumbie. But he’ll be following her to Los Angeles where they’ll eventually marry. Malcolm’s conundrum is that his boss (Lyriq Bent) thinks he stole the latter’s money.
After sneaking into Maya’s truck, Malcolm convinces her that they can solve each other’s problems. He gets to hide from his Canadian, gun wielding boss by pretending to be Mtumbie. They marry, he ‘dies’ in a honeymoon accident, she becomes a respectable widow while he can drift off without his boss tracing him. Post-screwball comedies have stupid yet passable premises like this but this one takes the cake. As Mtumbie, Malcolm ingratiates himself with Ed and the rest of the family. He even helps Ed out with building a beach side shed. But the rest of the scenes are humiliating.
Anderson is the cast’s asset, besting screen veterans like David. The former pulls off the physical comedy required to play Malcolm. But even at his best he can’t hide the fact that the script is just one contrivance after another. Malcolm has to sit under a table when he finds his boss eating at the same restaurant that he and Maya are in. And all of that is for naught since the boss finds him out and finds a way to get to him that’s more subtle than a restaurant shootout. Again, Anderson is a good actor and I hope he plays smarter roles than this one.
Love Jacked is your typical romantic comedy about two people who gain feelings for each other despite having just met. I know this is part of the genre but this is one of the examples where the filmmakers force that romance more than usual. They also put together this love story with weird elements – drab visuals with an unnecessarily expensive throwback soundtrack. It also doesn’t help that Maya unfortunately comes across as unsympathetically bratty. And West, who is supposed to be the lead character here, lets actors like Anderson steal the show from her.
- Genre: Comedy, Romance, Screwball
- Release Date: 12/7/2018
- Directed by: Alfons Adetuyi
- Starring: Amber Stevens West, Shamier Anderson
- Produced by: Alfons Adetuyi, Michael Auret
- Written by: Linda Eskeland
- Studio: Inner City Films, Spier Films
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