Every now and then the mood calls for a rom-com with all the fixings. Sadly, Love Jacked, directed by Canada’s very own Alfons Adetuyi, lays the groundwork for a believable love story but misses the mark when it comes to chemistry between the leading couple.

An artist stuck in a creative rut, Mya (Amber Stevens West), decides to take a trip to Cape Town, South Africa, in an attempt to get her creative juices flowing. She gets more than she bargained for when she meets a man named Mtumbie (Demetrius Grosse), who sweeps her off her feet and asks her to marry him – angering her father (Keith David) who assures her their relationship won’t last.

Their tryst under the African sun is, indeed, short-lived, because soon after their engagement Mya catches Mtumbie cheating. When she returns home, she’s unable to face her father and lies to him about the nature of her relationship with Mtumbie. She tells him that Mtumbie will be there in time to meet the family for the wedding… even though she left him in Africa.

This is where the fun begins.

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Mya ends up at a local diner and pours her heart out to Malcolm (Shamier Anderson). By the end of their first meeting, he knows all about her heartbreak and problems with her father, and she finds out that he’s a hustler in trouble. As the wedding is still on, he offers to be Mtumbie if she’ll help him escape the grasp of his ex-partner in crime.

Mya and Malcolm spend the remainder of the film trying to keep up with the charade until the wedding. There are some cute moments shared between the two, but the chemistry is severely lacking. They seem more like acquaintances than two people who are romantically interested in each other. That could be attributed to the fact that there wasn’t much of a build-up where we got to see them falling for each other – it happened after one painting session on the beach.

This film misses another opportunity by leaving the relationship between Mya and her father unexplored. It’s clear that there is unresolved tension between them. Why is that? In the end, they tried to wrap up their problems in a nice, neat package, but it would have been more interesting to see why Mya felt the need to go to such great lengths to prove her father wrong.

While Love Jacked isn’t the next My Best Friend’s Wedding or Sweet Home Alabama, it’s still worth a watch.

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