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CINEMA REVIEW: Toyin Aimakhu’s “Alakada Reloaded” Is Plot-less, Story-less & Lacks Any Direction

BY IFE OLUJUYIGBE

 

The movie genre that comedy is seems to be lost in its meaning to many a Nollywood filmmaker. It appears many imagine it a place where funny people are gathered to crack jokes and go home. But for exceptions like Bovi’s It’s Her Day, Funke Akindele’s Jenifa and a few others I can count on the fingers of one hand, many comedy films lack a story one can hold on to. If they do, it’s probably a hot mess all round, as it is neither plausible nor believable.

Alakada Reloaded fits right in with the former. A film written, produced and directed by Toyin Aimakhu, it follows the story of Yetunde Animashaun (played by Toyin Aimakhu), a young local girl with a fake life. She finds herself in a reality show and meets a few other fake folks, but when her lies become unbearable, she is evicted and returns to her regular life.

This is as far a story as one can get from the film. When the movie begins, we are at Yetunde’s Fufu shop, then we find Yetunde in a man’s car, and then find a man still complaining about the already-forgotten MMM.

Soon, we find her being chased by another man and then trying to live with her friends. Next thing, she is a married woman someone is advising her husband to not lose. The story is so incoherent; we would opt easily for a jigsaw puzzle in its stead.

To its credit, Alakada Reloaded has hilarious moments. The way Yetunde moves her eyes and mouth when she lies, and how clueless she always seems to be are totally exciting to watch, even when sometimes they are exaggerated. For a film that has had two prequels, one cannot but applaud Toyin for her consistency and hard work, and for bringing so many stars together in one film.

Abundant and diverse as the cast is however, they are largely incoherent, and everyone has to speak at the top of their voices to be funny, scratch, to drop a punch line. Whether it winds up funny at the end of the day isn’t guaranteed. I couldn’t help asking from time to time, “why so loud, people?!”. Reminds me of secondary school where every man jack loses their home training when a teacher doesn’t show up for his period, and each person tries to out-shout his neighbour.

Because the scenes are so disjointed, Alakada Reloaded goes nowhere at all. One moment a man is promising to deal with ‘that Yetunde girl’, the next he is gone with the wind, never to be seen again.

The cast is comprised of Nollywood actors like Kehinde Bankole, Kemi Lala Akindoju, Iyabo Ojo, Lilian Esoro, Gabriel Afolayan, Odunlade Adekola, Annie Idibia, Mr Latin, Nedu, Comedian Ebiye, Woli Arole, Peteru, Ali Baba, Ijebu, Small Doctor, Helen Paul, Bimbo Kosoko and a host of others.

Odunlade Adekola stars as himself and is at his best. He lights up Alakada Reloaded when he appears, and though his is only a two-scene role, it is clearly the best few moments of the film. Kehinde Bankole stands out too with her stellar acting, and Gabriel Afolayan is amusing with his unconventional cross-eyed character. Peteru is in his element here too, and Ijebu (Olatayo Amokade) and his female sidekick, Liz Da Silva play lousy hilarious cooks that make for interesting screen time.

This plotless, story-less, edit-less, directionless film would feel largely like a waste of time for a good part but would elicit insane laughter for the rest. And this is why it would gross 25 million Naira in one weekend because when it comes to laughter, it appears people don’t need answers to questions like: Who the heck is Uncle D? Why does Yetunde want to live in someone’s house? What was the point of the reality show? What did Helen Paul come there to do? Why were Iyabo Ojo, Kemi Lala and Jumoke Odetola all sounding so fake? Why was Ebiye chasing Yetunde around? Why did the men rush to help Loretta and suddenly leave her after scattering all her things on the floor? What exactly was the crux of this film? Questions!

It would seem the creed of the Nigerian comedy film genre is fast becoming: don’t make sense, just let them laugh. That’s not so bad if you put the recession into consideration, I guess.

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