BY IFE OLUJUYIGBE
When a movie begins with blurry pictures, and you have to strain to hear what’s being said, you know the end has come. It’s then you remember you easily could have been picking beans at home with your time rather than being there. But you’re there already, so you tug your tail between your legs and sit through it. A hundred and ten minutes of poor quality. What could be worse?
Produced and directed by Elvis Chucks, For The Wrong Reasons is a 2016 star-studded movie that tells the stories of people who enter relationships for the wrong reasons. There is Ken (Wale Ojo), who gets heartbroken when his girlfriend Chichi (Chimnonso Young) of many years returns from her youth service with a two-months pregnancy. His heartbreak lands him in a hospital where he meets and falls in love with Boma (Adunni Ade), marries her, but is paranoid that she will cheat on him as well. Chichi is forced to marry her baby daddy (Daniel K. Daniel) who winds up jobless and takes out his frustrations on her. There is Chichi’s sister-in-law (Mary Lazarus), who marries her boyfriend, Marcus (Enyinna Nwigwe), for lack of a place to stay. Marcus gambles his life away and she is left to live with the consequences. There is the Kenyan princess (Vimbai Mutinhiri) who turns down a proposal from her white boyfriend for a bad boy hunk (IK Ogbonna). She marries him and becomes an incurable drug addict. And then there’s the gigolo (Michael Godson), who settles for a white sugar mommy in hope of getting rich, but when she becomes insatiable, he is frustrated to the point where he begins to consider suicide.
The writer of this movie (Kunle Salawu) had good intentions with the storyline; telling the different stories of different people whose lives are intertwined in some way. It reminds me of the movie ‘Valentine’s Day’, or something from a telenovela. Some of the acting is good too: Wale Ojo takes on an Igbo accent and maybe overdoes it a little when he won’t stop speaking in Igbo. Vimbai is believable with her addiction-induced craziness which is impressive for a newcomer. The rest is just average or below par acting, nothing out of the ordinary.
The movie is tagged a thriller. In truth, For The Wrong Reasons is a thriller that doesn’t thrill. It is constantly interjected with narrations from Liz Benson, (or is it wise words?) that become very distracting and annoying pretty quickly. Apart from the production that seems rushed and lackluster, there’s a ton of blunders and pronunciation errors that cause you to wince and sigh all at once: Insearchable instead of insatiable, sour loser instead of sore loser, certisfied instead of satisfied, duthy instead of duty, ‘We reminiscence (instead of reminisce)…’ I can go on. The love-making scene between Michael and his white Cougar Mrs. is the most cringe-worthy lovemaking scene I’ve seen on a screen. It was such a pain to watch, awkwardness seeping out from all angles.
Talking about the sugar mummy, her acting is terrible, and that of virtually every foreign act in this movie. It’s not enough to just find the next white person to feature in your movie. How about an audition for a change?
The idea that the stories be left open-ended is dicey. It could work if all the stories were left that way, but that is not the case in For The Wrong Reasons. While we see Chichi and her husband divorce, we are left to wonder what happens to the addict couple. We watch Gigolo run away, but we are left to wonder what becomes of Marcus and his wife. Overall, it mostly tastes like salty beans that’s undercooked.
There’s a lot of tackiness in the way the gigolo attempts his suicide, or gets his escape. If you could easily say you’re no longer interested and walk away, why did you put up with the sham of a marriage this long? And don’t even tell me it’s love, we all know it isn’t. I mean, why would you go to the kitchen and put up an attempted suicide/ I-am-drunk-with-sexual-frustration front for the camera when there’s the option of running away? Was it all just a ploy to add some intrigue to an obviously faulty plot, or make the movie long enough?
We would never know what Chichi hit in her fight with her husband. We know she raised a stick, and he screamed, but just before we could find out, we were blanked out by the black screen. Next thing we see is both of them, perfectly fine, talking about a divorce. Wait, who edits these movies again?
For The Wrong Reasons turns out a mishmash of many ideas with so little to get out of it. You can sense the good intentions, but what’s that thing they say about the road to hell paved with good intentions? The execution is poor; the story resolution is shoddy, leaving you to ask if you just saw a movie or a terribly done documentary. With all that seems to have gone into this movie, the upshot is quite disappointing, and at the end of the day, it’s only star-studded for the wrong reasons.