This was my first starring role in a major film produced by Canadians.
What if you needed a quick way out of a predicament, but your pride stopped you from telling the truth? In Love Jacked, one woman won’t give in to her controlling father in this feel-good rom-com.
Maya’s (Amber Stevens West) overbearing father Ed (Keith David) thinks she’ll take over the family hardware store, but Maya has other plans. She’s a frustrated artist and goes to Africa for inspiration against her father’s wishes. There, she meets Mtumbie (Demetrius Grosse), and after six weeks, they fall in love, and he proposes. When Maya discovers him cheating, she goes back home to Los Angeles but can’t give her father the satisfaction of seeing her come home defeated. After a large white lie and a deal she strikes with pool hustler Malcolm (Shamier Anderson), her family believes Mtumbie is coming to join Maya in L.A. Her situation proves to be the perfect hiding spot for Malcolm after he double-crossed his ruthless buddy Tyrell (Lyriq Bent).
Malcolm hams it up beyond belief, in a caftan and affected accent straight out of his source material Coming to America. The lies keep rolling, creating a mountain of trouble for the two strangers. Wedding planning, meeting relatives and trying to win Ed over are all on the itinerary, and Malcolm/Mtumbie has undeniable charm. Granny Rose (Marla Gibbs) likes him, Uncle Rufus (Mike Epps) is all over Malcolm’s African vibe, and Cousin Naomi (Nicole Lyn) is all over Malcolm, but Maya wants to put the brakes on Malcolm/Mtumbie as he wins over her family. His drifter background and her family bond will help them both find themselves and their true calling in life.
Directed by Sudbury, Ontario-born Alfons Adetuyi, the 2018 comedy is full of laughs and silly moments. With the comedy chops of Epps as the Africa-obsessed Uncle Rufus, the gruff genius of David and Anderson’s charm, there’s a lot to like in this fun caper that leads to love.