BY JAX OLOTU
Everyone in Payday doesn’t think things through. They are reckless, making stupid decisions on the spur of the moment, and mostly coming to regret them. It is hard to believe an entire neighbourhood of people can be that clueless, but this is perhaps what happens in the world Payday is set in. To truly enjoy this film, one must suspend belief, and imagine it really isn’t the Lagos you know. Call it Lagos 2.0.
Payday takes us on a journey into the lives of two friends, Paul and Ortega, who live in the same flat and try to make something of themselves having come from poverty. Paul is looking to create his own unique turbine cooking machine, Easy Cook, on the large scale, while Ortega is jobless and a gambler with fat dreams and a big mouth. On the day they are to pay their rent for the year, they find their landlord dead. With no known relative or heir associated with said landlord, the friends assume that the house is now theirs, and squander their rent in one fell swoop. The following day, their landlord’s daughter shows up from the blues and gives them a 24-hour ultimatum to pay up or move out.
Paul and Ortega jump through hoops to get the money while coping with a nosy neighbor, a troublesome street bully called Orlando, a drug ring, a new love interest and a lot of stupid choices.
One may view the Payday story as overreaching, with all the elements that seem way too convenient to be believed. And one would be absolutely right. However, what makes this film un-put-down-able is the level of humor embedded in it, as well as the delicious banter within the bromance. While Paul is more rational, driven and focused, Ortega is an absolute mess when it comes to making decisions, and has a penchant for biting far more than he can chew.
Baaj Adebule and Ebiye work together to give the audience a good time as Paul and Ortega, right from the first scene down to the last. Casting these two as lead is the best thing that happened to this film, as they go on to make humor rain without even trying. Bisola Aiyeola is Ngozi the neighbor who, though having very little relevance, makes a great addition to the film. The film also features Meg Otanwa, Zack Orji, Mawuli Gavor and Chimezie Imo.
Nothing is totally believable about the street bullies, the eventual love story, the drug gang or the fake robbery angle of this film, but since we are suspending belief, we can grudgingly let them slide, especially when we put into consideration all the action bits that get our hearts racing; the numerous gunshots, the falling chandelier, the narrow escapes and car chase.
Written and directed by Cheta Chukwu and produced by Orwi Manny Ameh, Payday is a passable film that elicits a lot of laughs, tries too hard and turns out with the barest believability and enjoys decent technicality with sound, editing, and cinematography. It is far from being a contender for film of the year, but it is a holey joyride still.