BY IFE OLUJUYIGBE
Titles like Desperate Housegirls would automatically get your eyes rolling.
“These Nollywood people don come again. There’s Desperate Housewives and Devious Maids. They just had to cook up something with a similar title abi? God dey.”
This is normally the reaction when I ask people if they’ve seen this movie.
Desperate Housegirls is a 2013 movie directed by Desmond Elliot. It tells a story of three street girls who struggle to make a living in the city of Lagos. They work at a local buka but are constantly picked on by their lousy boss, Mama Calabar, and groped by randy customers. When they run into a former classmate who is now well to do and condescending, they become desperate to ‘make it’. Ekemini (Ini Edo), the most outgoing of the three branches out first, finds a job as a maid in a young couple’s home, and invites her friends over to visit. Soon, they too leave Mama Calabar and find maid jobs at different homes, their sole aim being to steal as much as they can and then run.
Their plans soon change due to circumstances beyond their control.
Okay. Now to the point: DHG is a good film in almost every sense. The delivery of their roles, especially those of the three protagonists, Ini, Mary Lazarus and Tamara Eteimo, is top-notch, fluid and totally believable. The directing of this movie, the pacing, the dialogue; they all just work well together to give the audience a pleasurable experience. I love how the soundtrack intercepts the movie pleasantly and timely, creating its own effect on the pacing of the movie. There is barely a dull moment, as the movie goes to explore the different families and the impact of each house-girl on it and vice versa.
Not entirely original (I mean, we can mention at the drop of a hat two to three movies/television series with similar story lines), the story line for DHG works notwithstanding. It gives its own Nigerian-ness to it, and turns it completely around, away from the norm, so much so that you remain at the edge of your seat almost throughout the movie. When I first saw this movie in 2013, I was in awe. I still am.
The picture quality is classy, the selected sceneries are great, and the costumes do their own justice to the beautiful dish. Nobody tries too hard in this movie, they just deliver. DHG is a bowl of catfish pepper soup.
In the resolution of the movie, some parts seem to drag a little too long, especially the family with Kenneth Okolie’s character. The reconciliations drag too. But we forgive. We forgive.
I can hardly fault anything in Desperate Housegirls. Well, except its title. I mean really? No one had a better idea? No one considered a Thesaurus? You could find synonyms to anything on there. How about Frantic Lasses, or Hustling Helps or something? Hey I’m just trying to help here. The title of a thing is just as important as its content. It’s what announces it, and can many times determine how far it flies. So yeah, I hope we can do better with titles, Team Desmond Elliot.
Still contemplating seeing this movie? Oh please go right ahead. It’s totally cool for a fun evening.