So we finally saw The Wedding Party by Kemi Adetiba. We have been huge fans of hers for years and when we heard she was doing her first feature film, we couldn’t wait to see what she would churn out. The rave reviews came in right from its debut showing in Nigerian cinemas. Cinemas were packed ‘back to back to back’ and one couldn’t help but praise the publicity, the celebrity cast and the production team for ensuring that almost everyone had a reason to see the film.
We didn’t want to watch the movie when everyone was talking about it. We saw the reviews and pictures of packed cinemas and knew that if we were to watch the movie objectively, we would have to wait. Plus, as aspiring filmmakers, we knew we needed to see the movie with analytical minds if we were to learn anything from it. You don’t know how hard this was when our entire timeline was filled with praises for Kemi.
When the buzz finally died down – which isn’t really much because the cinema was still packed – we finally went to see it. Before we entered the cinema however, we decided not to watch the movie as a film makers. We wanted to be members of the audience, not critics. So we got in and watched. Unfortunately, consumers are also heavy critics so we guess we had to do us.
Anyway, this is what we took from the movie;
1. The Cokers:
We think the Cokers were the true love story in the film. Played by Ali Baba and Sola Sobowale, the scenes came off with ease, making you almost forget they were acting. They had this homey kind of love that made you want to grow old with someone like them. In spite of the over-the-top behavior, we felt like that was THE relationship that should have been focused on. What made us happy was the fact that their quirks complemented each other. When Tinuade found out her husband wasn’t rich anymore, the question, ‘Why didn’t you tell me?’and Bamidele’s response of ‘I tried to’got to us. It showed that in spite of how seemingly perfect they were, they didn’t share everything; which is true even in the happiest relationships. We think that was well done.
2. The Onwukas:
Apart from the coldness of Lady Obianuju (Ireti Doyle) and the almost-always flustered attitude of Chief Felix (Richard Mofe-Damijo) when dealing with her, their relationship was a mirror of many Nigerian marriages. Many people are just not happy in their marriages and whether rich or poor, it bites the same. What was obvious however was that Lady Obianuju loved her husband. Yes, she laced her speeches with enough poison darts to down a whale but it seemed like she was always trying to get his attention. Of course the roles were played well by both these awesome actors. It is no surprise then that the most romantic scene (for us) was when Chief Felix said he wanted to spend more time with his wife. Was it cheesy? It was dripping melted cheese! But the way her face softened without losing all her cool was just brilliant.
3. Dunni and Dozie:
We love us some Kemi Adetiba but the central love story is played out. ‘Reformed playboy settles down with a virgin’ is the stuff millions of M&Bs and eHarlequins are made of and there is a reason why we stopped reading them. We couldn’t wait until their scenes were over so we could see something from the others. We would have loved to see a middle finger to traditional norms but then, we am not romantic. But think about it. Wouldn’t it have been better if Dozie was the virgin and Dunni the reformed playgirl who he still ends up with?
A whole lot of other things were clichéd but we know people relate well to clichés. The best man, the hot ex, the wedding planner, the wedding crashers, the Iya food all tied in nicely into the movie. Two surprises were the Driver (Frank Donga) and ‘Guchee’ red suit and the entitled thief (Sambasa Nzeribe). Almost everything was relatable and we think that contributed to the film’s success.
Our best actors had to be;
a) Sola Sobowale:
Yes we know she is the star of the film but beyond that, she was the character we saw ourselves as the most. Easily excited, crazily paranoid, life of the party, shows whatever emotion she is feeling and is just a happy spirit. We are not all of that but we felt completely in tune with her.
b) Zainab Balogun:
It is weird that in almost all the reviews we saw, most people didn’t mention Zainab. We must say, Zainab acted that role like mad! The stutters were well timed, the bouts of crazy, the switch from respectful I-know-who-pays-my-bills to the bitchy high classed boss lady made Zainab a delight to watch. It is weird that we were never really fans of hers but her acting made us love her. Girl brung it!
c) Frank Donga:
In one sentence, that guy is an idiot! His brilliance expressed in such stupidity can only be applauded. He is the kind of person that will annoy the hell out of you when you are with him but makes you laugh when he is being stupid to another person.
We think RMD, Ireti, Beverly, Somkele, Eyinna and Adesua brought in what was expected – even though we totally didn’t see that slap from Somkele coming. We didn’t expect much from Banky W and Ikechukwu so we weren’t disappointed with their performance. We didn’t like that Eyinna’s character was so weak but when we saw him block that ‘Small Chops’ from creating a scene, we knew the character was supposed to be so. We really think Eyinna would have been a better Dozie though.
Our absolute favorite scenes had to be before the Cokers started their entry dance and the dance itself. That instance when Tinuade Coker and her women went, ‘Ginger oh, ginger’ was the best moment for us in the film. Tinuade’s expression, the sheer awesomeness of that pose, and those finger tips that said ‘we go pepper you today’ were just the best! And then the dance itself! The Cokers were a delight to watch as they strutted their stuff down the aisle. We so wanted to be a part of their team because the fun was real and infectious. Something else we liked was that slap Rosie got. This is because, straight up, that is us. How can one person come and be speaking English and ruining moments and think she can get away with it? Abegee! She needed factory reset jare!
And then our least favorite scene. What the hell was that with the original best man all up with bandages? If one suffered an accident of that magnitude, dude, they will not be talking; at least, not for days. The scene was too much. It could have been done with less and still conveyed the same message. We are sure Kemi was going for a short bust of laughter but everyone had a collective ‘hey!’ and not in the haha way. Another scene we didn’t like was the spot Dozie found Dunni. In a Lagos beach someone has a spot? Eh ehn! And who got the fire going? We do not negate the possibility but it seemed a bit too far-fetched.
And now that we are done with our audience analysis, we must give Kemi Adetiba big kudos for her first feature film. It was visually appealing, the comedy was well placed and timed, the movie was relatable and most of the acting was on par. Kemi is a merry-go-lucky spirit and she poured herself into her first movie. She is a king woman but we will like to see her work with a less known cast and see if she still brings that magic.
When next we watch the movie, we will watch it as film makers and really analyze the technical aspects of the film. For now however, Kemi Adetiba, you settle down get mouth! Kudos!