BY IFE OLUJUYIGBE
Sheila and Tega have rules for everything, interesting rules too. And this is no surprise considering they have lived most of their adult lives together and have been friends their entire lives. It is surprising how they do not make rules about the men or boys they come across, considering the number of times men are mentioned in their conversations.
These two friends couldn’t be any more different. While Sheila loves men with her mind, body, and soul without necessarily committing to them, Tega loves computers. Sheila is out every other minute, but Tega sits behind a desk half her life, with glasses (the nerdy stereotype) and taps away on her laptop. It is a relief she isn’t a screenwriter or it would have been yet another Nollywood stereotype.
Tamuno Priye comes into both their lives without each one knowing and they both fall for him. Tamuno, a wealthy young man who lives in an ill-fitting house and drives an ill-fitting car doesn’t realise the two women in his life know each other and appears to treat them both with equal reverence, showering them with his attention and flattery until Tega, who is a virgin, sleeps with him and can’t wait to share the news. It is at this point the ladies discover they have both been played and abduct Tamuno to teach him a lesson, but first, they must play by the rules.
Rule No.1 was going so well with the narrative of these three characters, building them so we could meet, connect and relate to them. Somewhere along the line, it appears it misplaces its narrative, and in a bid to introduce cheap laughter, loses its edge. Tamuno, whose visible dilemma we could relate to, suddenly becomes a butt of jokes with his ridiculous one-liners, and the plot for revenge is silly at best. Suddenly, everyone jokes around, with no real explanations for why they do what they do. Tega throws in a forgiveness speech that attempts to be moving, but it loses its weight in the lightness of the moment and falls flat.
With a cast of seven, Rule No.1 shines with its good acting. It easily could work with a cast of five, as the character of the house-keeper does nothing for the story. Keira Heywatch and Chinonso Young do a fantastic job of interpreting the screenplay. Their chemistry is believable, reminiscent of their roles as costars in Blessing Egbe’s Lekki Wives. Buchi Franklin also does a fair job as Tamuno. Everyone on the cast brings their A-game.
The cinematography is a beauty, and the sound is decent. The colours are bright and interesting, and there is an abundance of African print that is just to-die-for. There is also a significant showing of skin, fresh glowing skin that’s pleasant to see. In its dialogue, Rule No.1 is crisp and entertaining. It would have done better with a consistent, more intense, more thought-out plot. Still, its breeziness is welcome entertainment.
The film is written and produced by Oluchi Afurobi, directed by Lyndsey F. Efejuku, and executively produced by Matthew Gbinije, CEO Mogson Production Limited.
And just in case you were wondering, Rule No. 1 isn’t what you think it is.