BY IFE OLUJUYIGBE
I decided long ago never to walk… I mean, never to trust a trailer. I have been heartbroken one too many times to put my trust in them. So when I saw the trailer for romantic comedy film The Wedding Party, it was easy to deduce it was star-studded; actors, singers, comedians. But I still had my trust issues, the kind that came and went like the sunset. I hoped to God that it would turn out as engaging as its trailer (and general media hype). I surely wasn’t the only one holding on to this hope.
Well, I finally saw it. I’m not sure I have said this about any movie this year: this is an absolutely fantastic movie. From start to end, The Wedding Party is a pack of sheer goodness. I haven’t recovered from it. I don’t plan to. What a way to wrap up the year!
There’s a thing about movies that are too real they seem like everyday life. They stay ingrained in your head. They make you laugh. They make you feel. They place you in themselves and give you the keys. They mirror your everyday experiences: the enthusiastic Yoruba woman that panics at every bump in the ride, that stupid friend that won’t stop putting you in trouble, that cry-baby girl that is getting married and disturbing everyone about it, that pastor that just doesn’t know when to stop… the list is endless. This is what The Wedding Party is, in every single way. It feels like home, wrapping you in its embrace and letting the bands of your hair lose.
Dozie Onwuka and Dunni Coker are getting married. Everyone is excited. The wedding planner is working her butt off to make it a success. Everyone is running around. But problems just keep showing up that seem to want to spoil the smoothness of the wedding. Dozie’s ex, Rosie is one. Dozie’s mother’s glaring disapproval is another. An armed man who stumbles upon a wedding invitation and comes to steal is yet another. And of course, there’s Dozie’s bestman, Sola, who refuses to have sense most of the time.
We know movies that seem too convenient. So everything just has to go wrong at the same time so you guys can have a film, abi? Except, The Wedding Party really is made in such a way that it doesn’t seem like it. It just flows; the writers (Tosin Otudeko and Kemi Adetiba) find a way to account for every single mishap that it ceases to be a movie at some point. Down to the smallest children in this film, everyone is completely in character. Banky W who features as Dozie makes his very first appearance in a feature film on this one. He could be better, but it isn’t a poor debut at all. I’d like to think that after the director, Kemi Adetiba saw the palpable chemistry between Adesua Etomi and the singer in his video for the song ‘Made for you’, she decided he had to be the best match for this film (It was cute when they played this same song in the movie as they became husband and wife. Very Cute.) The match worked, and you could almost begin to wish that these two were a couple in real life.
Sola Sobowale and Alibaba Akpobome are Tinuade and Bamidele Coker, Dunni’s parents. They absolutely made this film, flanked by their Yoruba crew, spearheaded by Lepacious Bose. Because I have been to many of such weddings myself, I know that they couldn’t have done better than what they did in their portrayal of Yoruba family members at a wedding. Ireti Doyle and Richard Mofe-Damijo play Obianuju and Felix Onwuka, Dozie’s parents. Ireti is the usually arrogant mother, but there is an extra fire she brings on this film that makes her beautifully fierce. Of course, RMD is brilliant. Somkele Idhalama, Ikechukwu Onunaku, Enyinna Nwigwe, Hafeez Oyetoro, Ay Makun, Sambasa Nzeribe, Daniella Down were all very good. Emma Oh-My-God and Kunle Idowu, aka Frank Donga were simply out of this world; I almost fell off my seat, laughing. Zainab Balogun is Wonu, the wedding planner. She continues to dazzle as she takes on different challenging movie roles, and I am totally loving it. Beverly Naya plays a role we have seen her in in a thousand movies, but she was so badass, she made badass look great. I can go on and on.
By all means, see this film, the result of a collaboration between Mo Abudu’s EbonyLife Films, FilmOne Distribution, Koga Studios and Inkblot productions. It is beautiful; story, picture, sound and all. Its spontaneous dialogue would make you love Nigeria. Its unforced humor would light up your day. Its brilliant acting would restore your faith in Nollywood. Its glamour would give you owanbe goals. I am in awe of this film, and I feel very proud of the makers. This, people, is how you make a movie.