In the Trail of 'The Wedding Party'

By Yami Bamgboye

One interesting movie that has conveniently surpassed previous box office records and has been a ‘smashing hit’ lately, since the days of Ayo Makun’s ’30 Days in Atlanta’ and ‘A Trip to Jamaica’, is ‘The Wedding Party’. For the record, that these movies broke and set amazing standards at the box office within the first few weeks does not mean that they were the best movies or they had the best storylines. At least, previous reviews on ‘A Trip to Jamaica’ would assert that claim. Nevertheless, I think a little something called  ‘extreme publicity’ did the magic for them all.

‘The Wedding Party’ is a 2016 movie that is a collaborative effort of four film companies: Ebonylife films, Filmone Distribution & Productions, Koga Studios and Inkblot Productions. While the team of Mo Abudu, Chinaza Onuzo, Tosin Otudeko, Kemi Adetiba  Don Omope brainstormed on the funny storyline that is completely a walk away from the norm, Kemi Adetiba and Tosin Otudeko did well on the screenplay that portrays so much reality.

Set on the Island in Lagos, Nigeria, the movie unconsciously adopts Aristotelian unities of classical drama: unity of action, time and place. At this point, we need to stress that modern drama does not strictly adhere to the postulations of Aristotle in his book ‘Poetics’. This could be attributed to the birthing of creativity, introduction of new themes, styles and the unwillingness of playwrights to be restricted to a physical location with a limiting number of hours in one day! Now, you see why producers shy away from that and just freestyle? That notwithstanding, the modification of the scenes to about  five gives the storyline the leverage it needs to hit real hard on the unity of time thus, making it the first Nigerian movie (feature film not short film or stage play) to have a plot structure that runs for just 24 hours. That sounds cool, doesn’t it?

The contrast between the ‘extremely rich’ Onwukas and the ‘just rich’ Cokers doesn’t really relay so much message as much as the promotion of Nigerian cultural values locked somewhere in-between the luxury through the display of Nigerian attires, languages and food. The high points of these displays are seen through the characters of Mrs Tinuade Coker, Mr Bamidele Coker, Chief Felix Onwuka, Iya Michael, Wonu, the wedding planner and ironically, Deardre Winston, the only white lady in the film. Deardre seems to love everything about the Nigerian culture that repels people like Obianuju Onwuka. At Dunni’s house, she speaks a local language while kneeling simultaneously to greet Mr Bamidele Coker. In the same manner, she specifically orders for amala and gbegiri with round-about, shaki, edo etc. while those around her opt for interconental dishes at the reception.

It’s not out of place to think that a multi-million naira movie like this would not be devoid of one or two errors. It’s ok though, those guys are humans too. But, it’s good to point out that anti-climax is really a bad feature every good sreenplay must avoid. It may sound cool as an idea but definitely not in reality. The final actions of the play would just have been wrapped up with the dance sessions and not the chit-chat between Wonu,the bouncers and ‘Saka’. Infact, ‘Saka’s’ last words are really a total shift that do not correlate at all. Rather than do all that, Wonu’s posture and eventual removal of her wig would have been way better. Another weakness of the play is the sub-theme of promiscuity from the angle of Chief Onwuka introduced into the play right at the middle of the reception. The boldness his mistress demonstrates while she walks up to him before she’s intercepted by Nonso has no place in the story neither does it have a special message.

I know as a comedy flick,all actions, events, etc.are meant to elicit laughter. This works really well if they are allowed to somehow happen naturally. Indeed, most of the actions in the movie are natural but having Kelvin all covered up in bandages just because he’s been hit by a motorbike is just way too ridiculous.

As we await the completion of the production of ‘The Wedding Party 2’, our hopes are high. We can only wish that the picture quality would be sustained and the mistakes made in the plot structure of the first would not be repeated.

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