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REVIEW: As Far As Romantic Comedies Go, The Desmond Elliot-Directed “Cooked Up Love” Story Ticks Many Boxes

BY IFE OLUJUYIGBE

 

Abiodun runs the TV show, Abbey’s Kitchen, and has built quite a name for himself with it. Alongside his best friend, Labake, who is also his producer, he has steadily improved his status as a celebrity chef, coupled with his good looks and charisma that has all the ladies fawning over him. In a bid to improve the ratings of his show, the network decides to bring weekly guest hosts and make it into some sort of reality show. Abbey fights the idea, but the powers that be always win.

The first sets of guests are horrible and are a complete turn-off for Abbey, but the ratings are spiking, so he is forced to suck it up. Then Tomilola, a young girl obsessed with the show is invited, and she drags her sister, Omolade, with her to the studio to come watch her perform. Abbey recognizes his ex, Omolade, right in the middle of the show, and the reunion is chaos. The rest of the show is a struggle, but when it ends, the bosses are ecstatic. They think Abbey and Omolade have great chemistry, and offer her a job as a permanent co-host, with an offer she cannot refuse. There is hatred between both cohosts now, based on their shared history, but eventually, they must face their pasts and find a way to coexist and thrive.

As far as romantic comedies go, this story ticks all the boxes. Love hits the rocks hard, goes back and forth, but finds its way. Set up on a cooking show makes Cooked Up Love exciting and lighthearted. And with good-looking leads Jimmy Odutola and Enado Odigie, it is even more fun to watch.

However, Cooked Up Love’s technical inconsistencies are a pain. The sound, for one, is all over the place. There seem to be costuming inconsistencies as well, with hair changes and cloth changes mixing up. The conflict is supposed to be moving and could have been, but it gets muddled up so much it doesn’t get through to the audience. While we are trying to follow Omolade’s heart-wrenching rape story, Abbey throws in his own suffering, and we get lost. The Abbey’s Kitchen show keeps going on breaks, and one cannot but wonder how it still has loyal viewers in spite of its disorganization. Less and less cooking is done as the show progresses. There even comes a point where the food is being cooked, yet the ingredients are untouched. Also, the timing of the show is ridiculously short and could have done with some scene cuttings to depict the passage of time. There are editing issues, missed or ill-fitting line cues and cinematography that gets the eyes squinting in places.

You’d agree with the producers that there’s great chemistry between Omolade and Abbey, and it is warm. Bimbo Ademoye plays Tomilola and along with Fehintola Olulana as Labake, they both put up decent performances. Desmond Elliot also features as the boss.

Cooked Up Love is fun to follow with quite a number of tingly lovey-dovey moments. It has its many technical shortcomings, but it also makes a fine attempt at a fresh love story. This 2018 movie is written by Mobola Rahman, produced and directed by Desmond Elliot.

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