Northern Irish playwright Lisa McGee fashioned her piece "Jump" as a comedic thriller — likely with 1990s Quentin Tarantino in mind, with wisecracking thugs and reckless lovebirds teleported between different timelines in a maze-like narrative. When first staged in the 2000s, critics noted the play's cinematic potential. However, the humorless film adaptation by director Kieron J. Walsh (of "When Brendan Met Trudy") and writing partner Steve Brookes brings to mind something other than pulp fiction.
The film immediately recalls one of Garry Marshall's rip-offs of "Love Actually," "New Year's Eve," populated by hollow, shiftless youths who are the Northern Irish contemporaries of Morvern Callar. Greta (Nichola Burley of Andrea Arnold's "Wuthering Heights") is the suicidal daughter of crime boss Frank Feeney (Lalor Roddy). Her rescuer, Pearse (Martin McCann), lost his brother at the hands of Frank's underlings. Henchmen Johnny (Richard Dormer) and Ross (Ciarán McMenamin) are tasked to recover money stolen from Frank's safe. You connect the dots.
As moviegoers continue to nurse our collective hangover from '90s Miramax-sponsored Tarantino wannabes, it's understandable that Walsh and Brookes opted for a tonic update. They've deftly juggled the time-jumping that is the central conceit of McGee's play. When it becomes apparent that the seemingly linear narrative is in fact woven with several parallel story lines, one might even be inclined to excuse the plot's too many convenient coincidences.
MPAA rating: None
Running time: 1 hour, 20 minutes.
Playing: At Arena Cinema, Hollywood. Also on VOD.