BY IFE OLUJUYIGBE
Following a star-studded and an almost perfect prequel, Seyi Babatope creates a continuation of Mo’s search for love/love story with Tobe. This time, their love story continues in Washington DC, but instead of heart contender Dare Laguda (OC Ukeje), we have billionaire businessman, Demilade Adenuga. Mo’ has launched her own events planning company and for her first job, she is hired as the events planner for Demilade’s business merger, and with her friend Tseju (Oreka Godis), Mo’ travels to Washington DC to set the ball rolling. Her boyfriend, Tobe (who has been changed from Gideon Okeke in the prequel to Udoka Oyeka), begins to see snapshots on Nigerian blog, Bella Naija, that give an impression that his girlfriend may have left him for the billionaire. With incessant inciting from his jobless friend and housemate, Enyinna (Enyinna Nwigwe), Tobe decides to travel to Washington to fight for his girl.
In comparison to its prequel, When Love Happens Again isn’t as compelling, story-wise, acting-wise, basically everything-wise. Well, except expense-wise, which is ironic. The movie is mostly shot in the United States, with lavishness thrown in our faces at every turn. The accents also seem exotic, perhaps too exotic it loses us somewhere midway. The many changes in the characters don’t do too much to help the poor story either, and while Zainab (Marie Humbert-Droz) is introduced, her chaotic relationship drama isn’t a tad believable, neither is her accidental running into Tseju (I mean, what are the odds that in the whole of Washington, you run into an old friend on the streets when you are only there for a few days?)
As usual, Mo’ (Weruche Opiah) is a delight to watch. Tseju’s character is more explored, and so is Enyinna’s. Everyone seems to put up a good show, well except Demilade Adenuga (Jimmie Akinsola), who acts as though he is afraid of the camera, and Zainab’s boyfriend JJ (Germaine Brooks), who just doesn’t seem to know what to do with his hands. Stanley ‘Funnybone’ Chibunna is cast as Emeka and brings unforced humor into the plot. The picture and sound and locations are impressive as well. The only issue I seem to have with the entire film is its very disappointing story. I suspected this would happen when I saw the trailer, but I decided to give it the benefit of the doubt, considering Babatope’s track record of good films. Sadly, it turned out just as I had predicted. Whatever happened to leaving when the ovation was loudest? (Not like this always has to be a thing, but hey.)
So a boyfriend leaves his Sterling Bank job and travels all the way with his ‘last money’ because he is jealous. And it so happens that every time he calls his girlfriend, she is busy with something or boogieing to loud music with her drunken friends in a different room, and when she calls him, he is probably taking a shower or has his phone stolen. It just falls flat, the entire storyline. In fairness, When Love Happens Again has quite the humor, but the thing about a faulty story full of humor is that while it makes you laugh, it leaves you empty; weary even.
The title, When Love Happens Again, is misleading. Love does not happen again in this one. It already happened. Perhaps, When Love Is Lost And Found would have been a more fitting title. The switches, Udoka for Okeke, Diana Yekini for Beverly Naya rob us of that feeling we got when we watched the first part. The replacements act as entirely different people, taking us away from the characters we have come to know and like.
A lot like AY’s A Trip To Jamaica, When Love Happens Again is another anticipated sequel that just doesn’t hit the mark with its weak story. It is shot abroad and makes us laugh a few times, but that is all there is to it, and that’s just sad.