BY ANDREW OKE
I went to see Diary of A Lagos Girl with zero expectations. After a recent massive disappointment, I am learning to adjust my expectations of ‘cinema Nollywood’ films accordingly. I hadn’t really heard much about it as the film had generated little to no buzz since its release and instead of a traditional movie trailer, the filmmakers decided to release two “teasers” that made me even less excited.
I was expecting to walk out of the cinema regretting the time spent watching the film that could have put to better use. However, I have to admit that by the end of the film, I was surprised by how “not bad” it was.
We follow Bim (Dolapo Oni), a single material girl in her late 20s working and living in the city of Lagos, as she searches for the ideal man that can not only offer her much needed companionship, but also a certain standard of living, complete with designer bags, and of course, a Range Rover as stated in the movies tag line “Why cry on an okada when you can cry in a Range Rover.” This line had already been said TWICE by the 18 minute mark.
After a string of terrible dates, shown in a limp montage, (including one with a man that apparently wants to become a witch and/or wizard), Bim meets Ife (Alexx Ekubo) and Timi (OC Ukeje). From the get go, you know these are the two men that will fight for Bim’s affection in this story that looks like it came straight out of the pages of a best-selling novel geared towards pubescent 14 year old girls.
From that point on, the story goes ahead in a very predictable direction. This is mostly because every character in the film is completely one-dimensional. Bim is the materialistic spinster (I hate that word). Ife is the bad boy. Timi is the good guy. Bim even has two one-dimensional friends: the good, kind-hearted friend (Adunni Ade) and the “evil for no apparent reason” friend (Linda Ejiofor).
I could list about a million things that I thought were wrong with Diary of a Lagos Girl. From Dolapo Oni’s aggressive and often times scary “acting” to the confusion inducing editing, to the predictable ending (literally 10 people in the cinema with me predicted the end of the movie before we hit the hour mark). However, when the end credits came a-rolling, I didn’t find myself in a state of absolute disappointment (as induced by other films). I got the feeling that the director, Jumoke Olatunde, knew what she wanted to get out of this film and did that to the best of her abilities. There are no pretenses to any faux intellectualism here; this is fluff for fluff sake and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
Yes, Diary of a Lagos Girl is heavily flawed, but in Nollywood today, which film isn’t? Actually, which film from anywhere is perfect? I could complain about some shoddy camera work and bad sound, but in the burgeoning industry that Nollywood is, that goes without saying, although inexcusable still.
The thing that makes this film entertaining for me, is that it is not trying to be more than what it is. It isn’t selling itself as the “best film Nollywood has ever seen.” It is selling itself as a movie that isn’t perfect, but will keep you in your seat, and on a few occasions, at the edge of your seat.
Diary of a Lagos Girl is that overused, deformed, cheap stainless steel pot in your kitchen. It’s not the best looking of the bunch, but you can still use it to cook sumptuous jollof.
RATING: 2.5 out of 5 STARS.