Come, let us be silly! aka ‘The Wedding Party’

The best time to write a review is always while the taste is still in the mouth. This doesn’t refer to food alone. It covers the entire spectrum of the arts. It’s pretty much like saying, the best time to write an exam is when you have just finished reading.

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I thought I already missed my chance to review ‘The Wedding Party’ movie since I didn’t grab my keypad right after watching it. Plus, loads of glowing reviews have popped up on almost every Nigerian blog or website you can think of – even if more than half of them are sponsored. So why add my own mite to the already loud noise? Because it’s been over two weeks I saw the movie and I still find myself burst out in laughter when the scenes replay in my head. Truthfully guys, I just HAVE TO let this out.

Who rang the bell for foolishness? Mo Abudu and Kemi Adetiba have some explaining to do. Do you remember the opening lines of singer Faze‘s once famous ‘Kolomental’ song?

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Omo na mental case

Start to dey crase

Na who dey rock in this place

It’s Kolomental

That song must have been playing somewhere in the background of this movie when it was being shot or during auditions. I have never seen Ali Baba so ‘foolish’ (read, silly) all my life; not even at his annual January 1st comedy show. I always knew Ikechukwu had some foolishness (or goofiness) in him and I was so glad Kemi (the director) decided to hand him this script that provided the perfect opportunity to bare it all. Sola Sobowale was tastefully dramatic and this was such a brilliant outing for debutante actor, Banky W; as well as Features director debutante, Kemi Adetiba.

Between spilling blood in club fights and screaming, ‘my name is Ike-chukwu!’, I have always diagnosed martial art expert and rapper, Killz, to be a pleasant next-door guy with a high propensity and deep yearning to be foolish – if society wasn’t so patriarchal and condescending towards men like that. I’m glad he found that liberty in his role as Sola – the bestman. And oh! that Caucasian bridesmaid stole my heart – such a hopeless romantic overly flattered by the prospect of a Nigerian Prince.

Let me tell you about the Banky W we saw. It was the innocent-looking 2008 newly-relocated Banky that came to act in this movie.

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Back in the days: Ladies’ man Banky W

The singer channelled his Western loverboy personality – the one that endeared him to Nigerian ladies when he introduced the songs; ‘No regrets’ and ‘Don’t break my heart’ to us and stole our hearts. When he found and reconciled with his runaway bride at the beachside in this movie, I almost heard him break into singing:

You’re the only one for me

Why can’t you see

Girl, I knew it from the start

Don’t break what’s left of my heart

In fact, I will not be surprised to find out that he suggested singing this song but was overruled by the director (who is also his personal friend), while filming this scene.

This beach scene was the only Non-Nigerian element in ‘The Wedding Party‘. I mean, which runaway Nigerian bride escapes to be by herself at the beach with a bonfire in the background? Who helped her gather the sticks?

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Ali Baba (Mr Coker) dances with his wife – Sola Sobowale, in one of his ‘silly’ moments. Peep Sola’s manicure…

I could go on and on about this movie. Ultimately, I would say the casting director made excellent calls. Every role was correctly cast and the scripts, meticulously guided. The movie had every opportunity to derail but the director kept it steady on course. I think Ireti Doyle and Emma Oh My God had the best written scripts. Ireti was impeccable in delivery and Emma’s prayer points at the wedding reception was so carefully thought out. Who knew Madam planner, Zainab, could speak such brilliantly intoned Yoruba? And Beverly, she was the classiest bitter slut ever!

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The strongest and most important unit of society: family!

The Wedding Party is such a happy movie. I saw it twice in Asaba during the festive season and it put the ‘merry’ in my Christmas. I will see it again in Lagos, once the cinema crowd subsides and I can get a ticket. I hear the Lagos experience is the real deal.

Have you seen the movie? What are your thoughts?

Hell or High Water: Time well spent

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It was date night again yesterday; it’s been a while. Husband said there was a private movie screening  and we were on the list. Boy was I delighted to dress up and get out of the house?! We got to The Palms, Lekki and I was surprised they had also started charging for parking like the Ikeja City Mall. Then we climb up to the cinema floor and the red carpet pleasantries begin – friends here, acquaintances there and about forty minutes later we were ushered into Screen 4. Drink in hand, popcorn on each seat; everyone settled in and the film began.

Now I had not (still haven’t) seen the movie trailer nor read any hype material about the movie so I was entirely clueless as to what to expect. It could as well have been a rich kid’s high school project but I couldn’t care less; I was just glad to be out of the house with the boo again. So when this cold movie started I was indifferent. Then things began to happen and I was transfixed: a young closet-gay married Pastor (Gbolahan) rekindles love with his divorced partner whose ex-wife (Hauwa) once secretly recorded their love-making session and distributed among both parties’ immediate families, before walking out of her marriage. I found the sex scene uncomfortable to watch and told my husband I wouldn’t have come to see the movie if I had watched the trailer. But after that ‘disgust’, something happened to me.

Hauwa bumped in on the ‘couple’ again and right after posted the six-year-old video on the internet. And everything ended for the pastor. His wife packed, father disowned him, church excommunicated him, was black-listed for jobs and the press hunted him everywhere… I sank into my seat. For the first time ever I saw gays as humans. I couldn’t believe how suddenly everything else Gbolahan had been and done didn’t matter – all his good deeds and good will ceased to exist the second his secret was exposed. He became a thing unfit for the gospel and undeserving of a society. I was speechless. As people in the theatre howled and laughed aloud at intervals, I couldn’t (We had a particularly noisy girl-trio in the row right in front of us). Long after the movie ended and the cast and crew came forward for introduction and Q & As, the cat still had my tongue.

Hell or High Water is not a gay advancement movie. It’s a call for us to be human first to one another. It’s a well told emotive story with brilliant acting. Enyinna Nwigwe who played Pastor Gbolahan delivered flawlessly and it felt good seeing Ashionye act again. This new crop of award-winning movie makers/actors are definitely writing the UrbanNolly(wood) story.

HHW was directed by Oluseyi Asurf of Asurf Films for The Initiative for Equal Rights (TIERS). I have seen a few gay-themed movies and read several gay-oriented materials but none has reached me ever like this one.