BY ‘SEGUN ODEJIMI
After that clip showing Toyin Abraham as Odunlade Adekola‘s wife went viral, Celebrity Marriage became one of the most anticipated Nollywood films of the later part of 2017. The film, directed by Pascal Amanfo, opened in the cinemas yesterday.
Celebrity Marriage boasts a roll call of some big names. Other than Adekola and Abraham, it also featured Tonto Dikeh who many of us were seeing in something massive again after her much-publicized marital ruckus. Kanayo O. Kanayo, Jackie Appiah, Osita Iheme and Susan Peters were also in this film.
The first piece of what would seem to the regular folk as a directorial masterclass was the pairing of Odunlade Adekola and Toyin Abraham. Two good actors who were very good at improvisational acting together as man and wife would be great you’d say shey? After witnessing the pair’s first scene together where Rita (Toyin) was chided by her husband for hugging a fan, you will be pardoned to think this piece of casting would pay off big time. But that was where I began to see the problem to come: Two actors, great in delivering through the Yoruba language medium, but very restricted in their performances when having to deliver in English language. Both of them were flat except for the short, little spells were they Improvised and ad-libbed in Yoruba.
There was a time when Rita attempted to stand up against her husbands brutality and she went on a lengthy rant in English language. This was arguably one of the most painful stretches in the film because it was obvious Aimakhu was struggling to keep up with two things: to get her acting right and also not make a huge gaffe in the language she was expected to deliver her lines in.
This is not to take away from the craft of either of them, however it is no secret that they are much more comfortable delivering in Yoruba or acting specific roles.
But let me step away from the acting a little bit. The fact that a film with such horrible sound was allowed to make its way into cinemas for people to pay upwards of a thousand Naira to watch is an indictment on everybody on that decision chain. This film was painful to hear. At many times during the viewing, I wish I were deaf. Body mics jammed with skin and pieces of clothing every twenty seconds and to add to the “horribility” of it all, most of the actors somehow succeeded in telling themselves that their acting would be seen only if they screamed at the top of their lungs.
To think that somebody would, in the nearest future, add this film to the list when their CV is requested. And that genius must have gotten paid too!
The story. Sigh. The story was as disjointed as it was painful to follow. The makers wanted to satire romantic relationships in the “celebrity world”, fine. But that didn’t mean they should pull out characters from their back pockets like they were cash from inside a wallet. None of them had back stories as strong as a cotton thread. There was the particularly curious case of Tonto Dikeh’s character’s best friend who was only in that film (despite spending over thirty minutes screen time) to tell her friend’s husband that she had been using contraceptives. That’s all! That was why she was brought from wherever she was to come and join their industry. The moment where Rita came with an incriminating photo to stop her husband from marrying another wife left me screaming the three Ws: when, where, why?!
The makeup artist definitely took their job seriously in this production. So seriously that faces and hairdo looked impeccable even after the “wearers” had just engaged in hot, steamy sex. Doesn’t this person deserve a round of applause? At least they have taken our money. It should be easy for us to applaud their dedication to their makeup duties.
We know many celebrities love to bathe in makeup but you could almost cringe at every woman’s face in this film.
It’s sad that due to the commercial success of some films, most of these filmmakers have come to think the Nigerian audience is so frustrated by Buhari’s regime that they will watch anything. No matter how silly or a total waste of time it is. Afterall, to them, Nigerians just want to laugh. That’s why AY Makun can arrogantly proclaim he is a filmmaker.
Ki Ọlọ́run ma fi ọrùn kẹ Amaka Igwe o! Choi.
No one would leave the cinema hall thinking domestic violence is a wrong thing and those who made Celebrity Marriage would think they have made a very good film.