BY IFE OLUJUYIGBE
2016 film Dinner, directed by Jay Franklyn Jituboh, follows a pattern of movies that showcases an event where things start out well but begin to go wrong all of a sudden. Movies such as this are faced with the risk of being too fabricated or overly contrived, and this is where Dinner fails, but I am getting ahead of myself.
Ade Jnr and Lola are getting married. Ade decides to invite his two closest friends for a pre-wedding dinner. Mikey flies in from Abuja with his girlfriend, Dianne. He would be the best man. Richard ‘Richie’ Boyo is in Lagos with them, and works for Ade’s father’s company. He comes alone. Lola probably has no friends; she probably doesn’t even have a maid of honour, but that’s none of my business.
At the door, Dianne is introduced to Ade and they stare at each other like they have seen their favorite cake smeared with shit flavor. It’s obvious they have history. Richie comes in next and there is that look yet again, and who does he share it with? Dianne! He calls her phone with a hidden number, and taunts her through the entire dinner so she barely has a thing to eat, for you see, Richy is a hopeless player. He wants her, he says. The last sex was great, he says. She is frustrated and tries to get air, but he comes again to taunt her. Then the ‘men’ go out to discuss how slutty all women are, and this just reminds me of the comment by Chimamanda Adichie in her Volkskrant interview about how men don’t gather to discuss women. Jituboh doesn’t seem to agree, which is why, through the entire time the men discuss, it is all about women. It is revealed as it progresses, that all the women in the film have indeed cheated on their partners, and they have all cheated with Richie. And Dianne has also slept with Ade.
The rest of the story goes around in circles and cannot seem to find a good place to end.
The believability of this film is in question. What are the odds that your girlfriend who lives miles away from these guys has slept with all of them? Or am I missing something? In the whole of Lagos, your girl selected men in your circle randomly, then went to Abuja and met you? Richie’s character doesn’t sell us either; it is too convenient that he sleeps with every woman in this film. The inclusion of the overused police-stopping scene where other cars pass but the one with the actor is pulled up is another downer. What with the cliché?
Dinner stars Richard Mofe-Damijo as Ade Snr, Ireti Doyle as his wife, Enyinna Nwigwe as Ade, Kehinde Bankole as Lola, Okey Uzoeshi as Mikey and Keira Hewatch as Dianne. The ensemble is probably what helps keep people in their seats to the end. Deyemi Okanlawon is cast as Richie, and wins it for me with an effortlessly interesting performance, in spite of his far-fetched character.
There is not much to Dinner. While the picture quality is great, the camera doesn’t seem to rest well on its stand; it shakes so badly at some point, I slap my eyes shut from dizziness.
The acting performances are satisfactory, but the story doesn’t do enough to bring out the best in its cast and certain scenes drag on and on with conversations that lead nowhere. The last two scenes are the worst possible resolution the writer (Jituboh) could have come up with, leaving an unfriendly taste on the tongue.