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Love Jacked is a comedic romp to South Africa and back

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Love Jacked stars Amber Stevens West as Maya, an aspiring artist who travels to South Africa seeking inspiration despite the wishes of her father (Keith David) for her to remain and run the family business. Photo courtesy A71 Entertainment
Love Jacked stars Amber Stevens West as Maya, an aspiring artist who travels to South Africa seeking inspiration despite the wishes of her father (Keith David) for her to remain and run the family business. Photo courtesy A71 Entertainment

Maya (Amber Stevens West) has different goals for her life compared to her traditional father, Ed (Keith David) – while Maya dreams of pursuing her artistic ambitions, Ed angles for his daughter to follow in his footsteps and run the family store. Things are complicated even further after Maya returns from an adventurous trip to South Africa with a new fiancé in tow (Shamier Anderson) in Love Jacked, a new comedy from director Alfons Adetuyi.

Adetuyi is known primarily for his dramatic work, stepping into the world of comedy for the first time with Love Jacked. His previous films include High Chicago (2011) and the South Africa-set TV medical drama Jozi-H (2006).

“Most of my work has been pretty heavy drama. I just said to my brother (Love Jacked writer Robert Adetuyi), ‘Geez, I’d like to do something light,’” Adetuyi said. “He was working on a script, which was this script. I said, ‘Yeah, OK, it’s kind of a crazy story.’ It seems like a screwball comedy, but it’ll be a lot of fun. And it’s all about the casting. And I got the best cast for this script. And I did laugh for a number of months. It was good therapy.”

Alongside Stevens West and David, Love Jacked also stars Anderson (Wynonna Earp, Race), Michael Epps (Resident Evil: Extinction, The Hangover) and Marla Gibbs (The Jeffersons).

“Comedy is very freeing. In a drama, we stay fairly close to a script. In comedy, there’s a lot of improvisation. These comics have to feel it, and so they add words and take away words. Sometimes they add a whole scene,” Adetuyi said. “For the comic actor, if it’s funny, you’re all going to laugh. I think I blew a few takes because I just laughed out loud. I really enjoyed the improvisation.”

The Mutt caught up with Alfons during the run of Love Jacked at Landmark Cinemas, which started Dec. 7. This interview has been edited and condensed for length.

THE MUTT: When it comes to the romantic comedy genre, what fresh elements did you want to employ in this film and what did you feel was valuable in terms of sticking to the tried-and-true?

ALFONS ADETUYI: I guess the freshest approach was, and it’s more of a challenge, is having something so outlandish as this premise and trying to work with each of the actors so they believed what was happening. I found that really funny, how they could go into each scene. And I think that’s where the comedy comes from, having what seemed like normal, regular people having to deal with this huge lie.

TM: I know one of the themes in the film is one’s quest for identity. What excited you about this script and this film in terms of that theme, and what did you want to explore there?

AA: Well, I mean, both of the leads are trying to find themselves. (Anderson) is kind of a drifter, but you watch him and realize, no, he’s a good guy, but he hasn’t found his place yet. So when he meets this family, he’s pretending to be this young woman’s fiancé, you can see this really kind of soaks into him. He really appreciates this family. Whereas her, it’s the opposite, she’s been surrounded by this family her whole life and just wants to get away from them. And (later in the film) she finds what her real inspiration is.

TM: You’ve spoken about how you wanted to incorporate some African-American twists into the romantic comedy formula. What were some of those touches?

AA: The Africa does come into her world and she goes into the African world. I wanted to have that exchange culturally. I have shot two TV series in South Africa dramatically, but in this comedy I still wanted to include Africa and African characters. She has an uncle (Epps) who is an African aficionado. He represents all these thoughts that some people have about Africa who haven’t been there. There’s some humour on how he views Africa, but he also surprises them on (how much he knows).

TM: What’s your pitch to folks to come out and see this film, especially in theatres?

AA: First of all, it looks beautiful, if you really want to see South Africa. The DOP (Lance Gewer), he made a film that won Best Foreign Film at the Oscars (Ttotsi). So he’s a brilliant cinematographer. We have Shamier Anderson, who is just a force to be reckoned with, and a great ensemble of actors. It’s a funny story, it’ll make you laugh. This is want I wanted, that light comedy that you come in and you have a really good belly laugh – it’s cathartic. It’s very therapeutic. It’s a feel-good comedy for two hours with some great actors and a totally unbelievable story. In truth, it’s a romp.

Love Jacked is now playing at Landmark Cinemas. For more information, click here.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Gail Buckley

    December 16, 2018 at 1:21 pm

    Why wasnt this movie showing everywhere? I really wanted to see it. I live in Fort Worth, TX

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Schitt’s Creek to conclude after next season

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The popular CBC sitcom Schitt’s Creek will conclude with its sixth and final season, star and co-creator Dan Levy announced in a statement today. Photo courtesy CBC.
The popular CBC sitcom Schitt’s Creek will conclude with its sixth and final season, star and co-creator Dan Levy announced in a statement today. Photo courtesy CBC.

The popular CBC sitcom Schitt’s Creek will end at the conclusion of its sixth season, series co-creator and star Dan Levy announced March 21.

“We are so grateful to have been given the time and creative freedom to tell this story in its totality, concluding with a final chapter that we had envisioned from the very beginning,” Levy said in a statement. “It’s not lost on us what a rare privilege it is in this industry to get to decide when your show should take its final bow.”

Schitt’s Creek premiered on CBC in 2015, becoming one of the network’s most successful half-hour comedies ever. The show follows the fish-out-of-water Rose family, forced to assimilate into a small town after they lose their family fortune.

Though the show’s first season received mixed reviews, it grew in regard with both fans and critics over subsequent iterations. Schitt’s Creek’s fifth season, which premiered on January 8, 2019, scored a 100 per cent “Fresh” ranking on the review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes.

The show is also among select company among Canadian sitcoms, drawing strong viewership in the United States and elsewhere thanks to distribution on Netflix and the American Pop network. Critics have reacted favourably to recent episodes, with TV Guide’s Megan Vick writing that each season of Schitt’s Creek has “gotten better and better.”

Read Levy’s full statement below.

New episodes of Schitt’s Creek air Tuesday nights at 9/9:30 NT on CBC.

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Watch the Oscar-nominated Canadian short “Animal Behaviour”

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The National Film Board of Canada is offering Canadians the opportunity to watch the Oscar-nominated Canadian short film "Animal Behaviour" until the end of today. Photo courtesy NFB
The National Film Board of Canada is offering Canadians the opportunity to watch the Oscar-nominated Canadian short film "Animal Behaviour" until the end of today. Photo courtesy NFB

To get prepped for the 91st Academy Awards, the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) is offering Canadians the chance to check out Animal Behaviour, nominated tonight in the Best Animated Short Film category.

Animal Behaviour is a new short from Alison Snowden and David Fine, who previously won an Oscar in 1994 for Bob’s Birthday. The short is the 75th Oscar nomination for the NFB, and the first short film for Snowden and Fine since Bob’s Birthday. The 91st Oscars air tonight at 8 Eastern on ABC and CTV.

Watch Animal Behaviour below (expires tonight).

Next up on The Mutt: Wynonna Earp future in doubt as Season 4 delayed

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Wynonna Earp future in doubt as Season 4 delayed

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Wynonna Earp Season 3 Episode 11/12 - "Daddy Lessons/War Paint". Photo courtesy Bell Media
Wynonna Earp Season 4 is in jeopardy, according to the The Hollywood Reporter, due to financial difficulties. Photo courtesy Space

All of a sudden, Wynonna Earp is in Purgatory.

Earpers were stunned Thursday night when executive producer and showrunner Emily Andras posted (and subsequently deleted) a tweet suggesting that fans of the show may soon have to fight for it. Another tweet, posted shortly later, took a decidedly more straight-forward approach.

Andras appeared to be responding to the news that funding for the fourth season of Wynonna Earp appeared to be on shaky ground, according to a report from The Hollywood Reporter. According to THR, financial challenges faced by IDW Entertainment have stalled production on Season 4, despite the company being contractually obligated to deliver the show to Syfy.

In response to the news, Earpers took to Twitter with the hashtag #FightForWynonna, which at the time of publication was one of the top Twitter trends in Canada. Though Season 4 has yet to be officially cancelled, IDW has yet to commit to a start date for the new season.

“IDW is committed to continuing to tell the Wynonna Earp story,” the company said in a statement posted to Twitter. “Much like the fans, we are passionate about not only the series, but the comics, the characters and the overall message that the Wynonna Earp franchise carries. We are in the process of working out the details for how the Wynonna story will continue and will share new details very soon.”

Our resident Earper, Ghezal Amiri, was a big fan of Season 3, writing that the show’s season finale, entitled “War Paint”, was a “wildly emotional conclusion.” Read her recap here.

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