BY IFE OLUJUYIGBE
After a successful run in cinemas in 2016, it didn’t come as a surprise that the Omoni Oboli -written and directed Wives on Strike showed up with a sequel, Wives on Strike: The Revolution in a ‘let’s milk this cow’ style. It would not be surprising if this sequel gets a sequel too. And because sequels and remixes are usually judged beside their predecessors, (and most times do not measure up), this sequel needed to do more work to meet the hype that surrounded its prequel.
In this Revolution, we continue from where we stopped. The barely educated market women who made the demonstration against child marriage in the city of Lagos, witness the passing of one of their own, Mama Beatrice, in what would later be discovered as a domestic violence situation. The women, spearheaded by Mama Ngozi, Mama Amina, Madam 12:30 and new additions Mama Bola and Iya Loja, the market women leader, are triggered and get to work, devising an unconventional way to get justice. Then they realise there are other women who could die from abuse, and decide to prevent it altogether in a state-wide revolution by once again embarking on a sex strike.
The Wives on Strike story is aided by all-round good acting, except for places where the humour comes off as forced. Thankfully, this isn’t always the case, and you find yourself giggling in places at the women’s dramatic shenanigans, especially at Madam 12:30’s constant griping over Mama Bola’s eating and Mama Amina’s I-too-know. The plot begins a content osmosis when it gets repetitive and overly preachy, and half-way into the film, you almost cannot remember where we came from, as the story has dabbled into several other purposes in a bid to teach lessons. Lessons in themselves are not bad, and are likely the goal of many a Nigerian film, but at the expense of the story, they become weak and tiring.
Many elements of this film are not seen through. We find that the conflict in The Senator’s marriage about a child from another woman is quickly glossed over. Mama Ngozi’s Ngozi, and all the other children in this film, including Amina are hidden away to make room for Beatrice and her siblings, with no concrete explanation of their whereabouts. The women who staged the first intervention are suddenly summoned to London (to a rather unconvincing gathering), and then to France (most likely showing in the next sequel) to discuss with other women about the child bride issue they helped eradicate. Then the story begins to dwell on women running for government and ends on that note. While it is highly commendable that these issues have been made into film, with humor and in the way the common Nigerian can relate to, as a film, the story lacks compactness.
The movie stars Omoni Oboli, Ufuoma Mc-Dermott, Uche Jombo, Kenneth Okonkwo, Julius Agwu, Sola Sobowale, Toyin Abraham, Odunlade Adekola, Chigul, Hafiz Oyetoro and a host of others. Toyin Abraham is memorable, even if this is one role you have seen her play a million times over. One cannot help wondering why all the husbands seem to be working in the same place. Baba Amina, who has been changed from Udoka Oyeka to Sanni Danja, wasn’t known as a mechanic in the previous installment. It is way too convenient that the husbands of the four women who are best friends and work in the same place also are best friends and work in the same place. The adverts are not subtle, and could be better done. And it is not easy to explain how Mama and Baba Amina are so versed in the English language considering their status and the fact that only a few months ago, they had been contemplating giving their little girl away in marriage. Is it a question of education not translating to exposure, or has life just dealt them the wrong hand?
The message of this film is perhaps its strongest point, as there is no better time to discuss the domestic violence issue than now. While other lessons are lazily hung on the plot in an attempt to stuff this basket, the domestic violence message is clearly passed and in an entertaining way too.