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It's hard not to smile throughout first-time feature director Joel Hopkins's enormously appealing romantic comedy, though the second it's over you might not remember exactly what all that grinning was about. George Abiola (Tunde Adebimpe), a stiff, socially awkward office worker in thick horn-rimmed glasses, is getting married. If he doesn't seem particularly...read more

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Reviewed by Ken Fox
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It's hard not to smile throughout first-time feature director Joel Hopkins's enormously appealing romantic comedy, though the second it's over you might not remember exactly what all that grinning was about. George Abiola (Tunde Adebimpe), a stiff, socially awkward office worker in thick horn-rimmed glasses, is getting married. If he doesn't seem particularly thrilled about this turn of events, it's probably because he barely even knows his wife-to-be. George's arranged marriage has been planned by the aunt and uncle who raised him back in Nigeria after the death of his parents, and he hasn't seen his fiancée in quite a few years. George is supposed to collect Sophie (Abiola Wendy Abrams) at the airport, but gets the day wrong and instead winds up meeting first Gerard (Hipployte Girardot), a heartbroken Frenchman who's just been dumped by his ex-girlfriend, then Alicia (Natalia Verbeke), a beguiling, pint-sized Spanish woman who invites George to a party. Learning that Sophie actually arrived the day before, and has since made her way to Niagara Falls, NY, where the wedding is scheduled to take place in three days, George accepts Alicia's invitation, and takes Gerard with him. Once at the party, George realizes the flutter he felt at the airport might be something serious, until Alicia introduces him to (gulp) her boyfriend, an insufferable Brit named Nathan (James Wilby), then tells him that they're both leaving for Canada the very next day. Gerard, who urges George to "never underestimate the power of love," insists on jumping into his vintage Citroen (license plate: AMOUR 1) and driving his new friend to Niagara Falls, which, of course, just happens to be on the way to Canada. Hopkins has taken a few pages from the Jacques Tati book of discreet, deadpan comedy — George, who keeps his top-button buttoned and his necktie tied until very near the end, seems as bemused by the modern world as Tati's Monsieur Hulot — but his homage never feels slavish, just a little insubstantial. His film is a delightful mix of swinging '60s style, road movie conventions and age-old romantic comedy tropes that coasts along on little more than charm, and does it delightfully. The pop art touches, the even poppier soundtrack, and a cool, ethnically mixed cast help even the creakier conventions feel fresh.

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  • Released: 2001
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Review: It's hard not to smile throughout first-time feature director Joel Hopkins's enormously appealing romantic comedy, though the second it's over you might not remember exactly what all that grinning was about. George Abiola (Tunde Adebimpe), a stiff, sociall… (more)

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