BY ANDREW OKE
I would not consider myself to be a very good cook or even an average one, so even though I am handed all the ingredients to make the perfect potboiler Oha soup, eleven times out of ten, it turns out to be disappointing. It’s edible, but only just. Exactly like actor/producer Yvonne Okoro’s latest comedy offering; Ghana Must Go.
Ghana Must Go follows a couple; Chuks, a Nigerian (Blossom Chukwujekwu) and Ama, a Ghanaian (Yvonne Okoro) who arrive in Ghana to meet Ama’s Parents (just like in the Ben Stiller film, Meet the Parents). On getting to Ghana and meeting Ama’s family, Chuks quickly realises that something about him a rather glaring animosity against him from Ama’s family. Is he a bad looking guy? No. Does he smell? No. The reason for their hostility is simple. He’s a Nigerian. Her family members express this hostility through varying degrees of bad acting and overacting, especially from Nigerian “actor” (if you can call what he does acting), IK Ogbonna who plays Ama’s spoiled younger brother and for reasons unknown is revealed to have a Nigerian mother. Does that revelation impact the happenings in the film in any way? Does it have anything to do with the story being told? Is it ever mentioned or hinted at ever again in the film? No. This trend of pointless and inconsequential happenings continues throughout the film, I suppose for no other reason than stretching out its run time.
Before long the biggest Nigeria hater of the bunch arrives; Ama’s retired general father played by Kofi Adjorlorlo. He’s a stern man who is overprotective of his daughter and is highly critical of any man who comes to marry her (You know. Just like Robert De Niro’s character in Meet the Parents). He finds out that his daughter is not only cosying up to a Nigerian boy, but has secretly married him in the UK, and is irate. Her father kicks Chuks out of the house and tells him to go back to Nigeria by saying the most predictable and cringe-worthy line I’ve heard in a very long time “Nigeria must go”.
At this point in the film, there hadn’t been that much humour except from the brief interactions between Chuks & Ama’s father, so when Chuks calls his father in the village and begs him to come to Ghana to intervene on his behalf and it is later revealed that that father is the comedy juggernaut Nkem Owoh, the movie, for the first time, becomes truly entertaining. Now we get to see the interaction between both the bride’s family and the groom’s family (it appears someone saw the sequel to Meet the Parents; Meet the Fockers) From the moment Nkem Owoh steps on the screen and takes his first whiff of Accra air, he steals the show. It was as if I was transported back to 2003 and was watching him in Osuofia in London all over again, effortlessly delivering joke after joke. It is a wonder to behold.
Unfortunately, that was the funniest the movie would ever get. All subsequent sequences that were intended to make an audience laugh were lazy and rather confusing. There are two scenes that come to mind in this regard; a scene featuring Chuk’s stepmother, a confirmed “mgbeke feeling funky” played by a forgettable Helen Paul (literally. by the end of the film, her character was nowhere to be found. The filmmaker literally forgot her). In this scene she spends four minutes on her own, regarding and commenting on a bathroom. That is the scene. The second scene which is more confusing than anything else, is a random Ghana versus Nigeria football match smack dab in the middle of the film. What is even more confusing is the fact that the film’s score is playing over the scene, so even though something funny might have been said during the course of the game, no one would ever hear it. It’s a bizarre attempt at humour if there ever was one.
If you know how the Ben Stiller led comedies Meet the Parents and Meet the Fockers ended, then you know how this film ends as it is a clear rip off of those two films (thankfully the filmmakers chose to avoid the third film in that series; the disastrous Little Fockers). This ordinarily shouldn’t be a problem, since practically every story in every film has already been told, but for that very reason, it IS a problem. Ghana Must Go had all the ingredients set before it for a proper, laugh out loud comedy. Not only that, it had a recipe to follow, a recipe that fortunately allows for slight deviations to make the final product unique.
However, these ingredients are given to less than capable hands who, like me, are not the best with a cooking spoon and end up producing a film that is watchable, but only just.