A Date With Miss Fortune is a unique romantic comedy told in “flash-forward” fashion. Writer-producer Ryan K. Scott plays Jack, a struggling writer who meets a superstitious Portuguese beauty Maria (Jeannette Sousa, who co-writes and co-produces) by chance at a diner. He uses her as a foil to get him out of an awkward spot, but has no idea that this seemingly random occurrence will be the catalyst that changes both his luck and his life.
The film begins with that “meet-cute” in the diner, which quickly turns into a first date. Interspersed between these scenes are flashes of the progression of their relationship, including moving in together, an awkward dinner with Maria’s Portuguese family, the personal and cultural conflicts inherent in that, and what hilariously ensues as they seek to overcome these odds, and balance the tension between the choices they make, and fortune and fate.
Scott and Sousa are married in real life, so the chemistry between them is evident and helps to ignite the story. Vik Sahay (Chuck, NCIS, American Reunion) does a supporting turn as Jack’s writing partner Wilson, and is his usual hilarious self. Sahay’s snarky humor assists in tightening the comic timing and pacing.
Joaquim de Almeida (Our Brand is Crisis, Clear and Present Danger) does a turn as Maria’s father, one of the main foils hindering Maria and Jack’s future happiness. The beautiful Claudia Ferri (Longmire, Rogue) plays her mother, who is the supportive element in the midst of all the conflict.
The flash-forward concept is used to move the story forward, but is not executed well. The film comes off as a bit schizophrenic, and it is difficult to go along for a ride with the storyline or the humor because of this.
While Maria and Jack are engaging in and of themselves, their cross-cultural story has been done before, with better beats and more uproarious comedic moments. In similar films like My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Fools Rush In, the female lead is the center, while her family culture and patterns are the antagonists that fuel the conflict and thwart the couple getting and staying together. However, you still get a view into the cultural and family conflicts in the male lead’s life, and his backstory is given weight and weaved throughout the film to heighten the main conflict. This is sorely lacking in this film. Aside from his aspirations as a comedy writer, and keeping video moments from his past failed relationships, Jack’s character is merely a reactionary mirror for the insanity and xenophobia of Maria’s Portuguese family and her dependence on superstition and psychic confirmation. This is a place where Sahay’s character Wilson could have been better utilized to reflect Jack’s past and present life, and make him less two-dimensional. You discover a touching and regretful aspect of Jack’s life toward the end of the movie, but that type of character insight would have worked better earlier on.
The loveliest touches in the film are during that first date, as Scott and Sousa’s natural chemistry and attractiveness draws you in and holds your attention. Writers Scott and Sousa could have done more with this aspect of the story first, before bouncing us back and forth between the relationship’s progression and the initial meeting.
One poignant and well-executed scene is between Maria and her mother, who encourages her to make choices rather than rely on fate or tradition, go against the grain, and follow her heart. While speeches like this are standard arcs in romantic comedies, this scene comes off authentic, natural, and weighty, lacking anything canned or derivative of other films.
A Date With Miss Fortune will release in select theaters on Friday, February 5. Visit the film’s website for theaters and showtimes. The film releases on DVD and VOD next Tuesday, February 9. Visit the A Date With Miss Fortunate Facebook page or follow the film on Twitter.