December 3, 2017

Alakada is Hilarious, but is Here and There

Toyin Abraham’s movie Alakada Reloaded elicits laughter throughout.

At a time when critics are knocking Nollywood for coming up with the tag line: “Comedy” for movies which, though are invested with some humour, but don’t crack anyone’s ribs, this is quite a laughter fest. It’s a patchwork of stories with no central theme and that in itself is not a bad thing.

What’s most concerning, however, is that whoever was assigned to take charge of continuity just took his eyes off the ball.  Yetunde (portrayed by Toyin Abraham) is the daughter of a dirt poor Fufu seller who can’t even pay ₦100 to a mobile phone call centre operator to make a call.  She goes about town calling herself a wealthy man’s daughter, and does such a poor job of it that she gets caught out again and again. After making a fool of herself at a filling station by slipping under a car, allegedly to guide attendants to where the petrol tank was, and getting run out of a friend’s house for a series of gaffes, including introducing a man she only just met on Facebook as her Fiancée, she ends up as a housemate in a programme that is a parody of MNET’s Big Brother Africa.

A dirt poor Fufu seller goes about claiming that her father is a legislator
A dirt poor Fufu seller goes about claiming that her father is a legislator

This is supposed to be the centre piece of the movie. The house is staffed with actors who are highly rated comics in their own right, so the strategy is to play this part largely in a talking heads fashion. The problem is that Yetunde consistently mixes things up (and not a deliberate directorial strategy). Someone who supposedly can’t speak proper English Grammar will deliver lines straight out of Queen’s English class. When she asks “Is he an actor”?  from fellow housemates who are star struck by Odunlade Adekola (playing himself), she delivers it impeccably.

Exciting...A Cinema goer reacts to Alakada Reloaded
Exciting…A Cinema goer reacts to Alakada Reloaded

This is a character who was only twisting her tongue to get a certain simple word right in an earlier scene. Someone who had appeared embarrassed when someone else couldn’t differentiate between United States and Canada, suddenly makes the same mistake several minutes into the movie.

And while it’s true that a movie without an identifiable plot is not necessarily a bad thing Alakada Reloaded could do with a lot more coherence, with an ideology that says “Let’s make sense out of nonsense”.

By T.A. Originally published in The Guardian on Sunday’s Artsville column.

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