'A Date With Miss Fortune': Film Review

A Date With Miss Fortune - Still 1 - H 2016
Courtesy of Vision Films
The title is the cleverest thing about this formulaic rom-com.

A couple experiences relationship issues involving family and ethnicity in this Canadian romantic comedy.

Those moviegoers too impatient for the upcoming sequel to My Big Fat Greek Wedding can slake their thirst for ethnic-themed romantic comedies with the punningly titled A Date With Miss Fortune. Starring and scripted by real-life married couple Jeannette Sousa and Ryan Scott, this amiable Canadian effort based on their own lives is likely to be of more interest to their friends and families than general audiences, although the presence of veteran actor Joaquim de Almeida as a disapproving, old-world Portuguese father lends it some distinction.

In familiar movie fashion, the couple at the center of the story meet-cute, with Jack (Scott) running into his ex-wife, now sporting a huge rock on her finger and accompanied by her new man, at a local diner. Desperate, he implores a beautiful stranger, Maria (Sousa), to pretend to be his girlfriend. And although this would never, ever, happen in real life, she gallantly complies.

Their meeting turns into an extended first date, the scenes of which are interspersed with their subsequent problem-plagued relationship. Jack is a happy-go-lucky regular guy, a sitcom writer whose credits include My Two Dicks (it's not as dirty as it sounds). Maria, of Portuguese descent, is deeply religious and superstitious, not making any important decisions without the input of her fortuneteller who, needless to say, doesn't think much of Jack.

Nor is Maria's family particularly welcoming, with her father (de Almeida) exclaiming to his daughter, "Are you trying to kill me?" upon first setting eyes on Jack.

The couple's personal styles also differ greatly, with Jack being a slob (cue the argument over his not changing his underwear, which one can only hope isn't a plot element inspired by real life) and Maria being an obsessive neat freak (cue the jokes about Pottery Barn and Martha Stewart).

Trading heavily on culture clash and ethnic humor — boy, those Portuguese folks are wacky, and they sure eat strange things, like pigs' feet! — the film steadily loses comic steam as it increasingly relies on silly contrivances. Canadian audiences, at least, will enjoy the many Toronto locations and the cameo appearances by singer Nelly Furtado and television personality George Stroumboulopoulos.  

Distributor: Vision Films
Production: Picasso Chaser Productions
: Jeanette Sousa, Ryan Scott, Joaquim de Almeida, Vik Sahay, Claudia Ferri, Nelly Furtado, George Stroumboulopoulos
Director: John L'Ecuyer
Screenwriters-producers: Jeannette Sousa, Ryan Scott
Executive producer: Eric Jordan
Director of photography: Samy Inayeh
Production designer: Ingrid Jurek
Editor: Jeff Warren
designer: Maria Juplaga
Composer: Daniel J. Stimac

Not rated, 97 minutes