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CINEMA REVIEW: Omoni Oboli’s “Moms at War” Has What It Takes To Be Good But Unsurprisingly, It Isn’t

BY JAX OLOTU

Moms at War promises two things: humor and drama. The key words in a title like this mean nothing short of adrenalin and eyes pouring water from too much laughter. And it almost delivers, except for the fact that in the end, there is only a little of both.

We meet Ebubechukwu, a stuck-up middle-aged woman who is fiercely protective of her daughter, Amara. It doesn’t take long before we meet Olaide too, Ebubechukwu’s single-mother neighbor, whose son, Bayo, goes to Amara’s school. In a neighbourhood of so many houses, it comes as a bit of a surprise that Ebubechukwu is particularly not fond of Olaide. They barely even know each other that well.

Whatever the case, this feud gets more heat when both Bayo and Amara have to compete for an international scholars’ program after coming tops in their final year qualifiers exam. But the school can only take one winner, and so the war to win begins with both families. Or maybe we shouldn’t tag it a war, let’s tag it a scuffle, as after one minor sabotage and a pool fight, the mothers suddenly become best of friends.

Granted, they get to bond over Ebubechukwu’s philandering husband, but the bond is perhaps a little too strong to a point that when one bears the risk of going to jail, the other puts herself in harm’s way to join her. The children too would come to follow their parents’ examples, both rejecting their chance at the program, each one opting not to go without the other.

The Moms at War story has what it takes to turn out great, but it ends up being anything but. What it offers is a passable piece of fleeting entertainment that gets you laughing a little and then going about your life. The actors are particularly below par, except for Omoni Oboli who wears her bitchy hat well for the most part. Funke Akindele as Olaide is bits of hits and misses, sometimes impressive, sometimes forcing it. And the supposed teenage lovers simply do not sell their chemistry, perhaps because they are neither teenagers nor able to play teenagers believably. And it is not that they do horribly, but they do not get you clapping either, with their acting feeling a lot like acting.

Written by Chinaza Onuzo, Moms at War glows, but is all kinds of unrealistic. It would seem like Ebubechukwu’s old bestie (played by Michelle Dede) is suddenly expelled as soon as Ebubechukwu becomes friends with Olaide. A line of dialogue could have fixed this. The switch between the moms is not quite smooth, and all the back and forth to save the school and send their children on the program, including blackmailing a teacher and hiring a prostitute, simply do not work in the film’s favor. Perhaps a little better acting may have worked for its believability.

The movie co-produced and directed by Omoni Oboli also features Yul Edochie, Sharon Ooja, Eucharia Anunobi, Abayomi Alvin, Adebukola Oladipupo, Lilian Afegbai and Derenle Edun.

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