Real-life couple Ryan K. Scott and Jeannette Sousa wrote, produced, and star as the leading couple in director John L’Ecuyer’s cross-cultural romantic comedy, A Date With Miss Fortune. The film also features appearances by two well-known Canadians: Grammy award-winning musician Nelly Furtado and George Stroumboulopoulos – consider it a Score: A Hockey Musical reunion for the celebrities.
The basic premise was inspired by Scott and Sousa’s own relationship (she’s Portuguese, he isn’t). After accidentally meeting in a New York diner and finding themselves on an unintentionally perfect first date, Jack (Scott) and Maria (Sousa) begin a romance that is complicated by Maria’s eccentric Portuguese family and her superstitious beliefs. The main barrier to their relationship is Maria’s favorite fortune teller, who tells Maria that Jack “isn’t the man for her.”
The use of Maria and Jack’s first date in the diner provides a neat and unexpected frame for the entire film; as the story of their relationship unfolds, the story of the date itself is told alongside it. While it takes a little while for the transitions through time to feel natural, it’s an approach that keeps A Date with Miss Fortune from becoming too predictable.
Unfortunately, the dialogue is often a bit too on-the-nose. There were times when I wanted the characters to be a bit more distinct and well-rounded. Rather than saying the obvious thing that the situation called for, it would have been nice if every moment of dialogue were utilized as an opportunity to develop a character’s individual personality and perspective. While there are some funny moments (Scott’s sense of comedic timing is particularly impressive), most of the scenes in the film that are trying to induce laughter seem to be trying a bit too hard. Jokes work best when they seem to come together naturally, but many of the relationships between characters in A Date with Miss Fortune are too underdeveloped or superficial for potential hilarity to arise from anything more than forced circumstance.
I should point out as an aside that I am not Portuguese. I saw this film in a theatre packed with Portuguese-Canadians who seemed to find the film much, much funnier than I did. I was left with the impression that much of the film’s humour relies on the viewer having at least a passing familiarity with Portuguese culture and traditions.
It isn’t difficult to see the extent to which Scott and Sousa were influenced by films like My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002), another independently-made Canadian romantic comedy that dealt with similar issues of family and cross-cultural relationships. It’s almost impossible to consider A Date with Miss Fortune without comparing it to its predecessor. It becomes increasingly obvious that Scott and Sousa’s script, while fun and sweet, doesn’t measure up to the sharp wit and heart that made the earlier film so appealing to audiences from a wide-variety of cultural backgrounds.
You didn’t need to be Greek to get My Big Fat Greek Wedding, but you might need to be Portuguese to really appreciate A Date with Miss Fortune.
A Date with Miss Fortune is now playing. The film has pre-sold more than a thousand tickets! To purchase your ticket, click here!
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