Let me say it again.
The Wedding Party is the best Nigerian film ever! Heck, it’s on my list of my top five films of 2016.
When the film hit the cinemas and rave reviews instantly began springing up all over Instagram, I felt a mild curiosity. The curiosity turned to a fledgling interest in seeing it, especially since I’d just seen the movie, Dinner, and could see that Nollywood films are now to be enjoyed in the cinema.
Then I stepped into the 4.30pm-scheduled movie hall and came out two hours later with a buzz. And a thought that I’d just seen the best film Nollywood has ever produced.
Set in Lagos, Nigeria, the movie tells the story of Dunni Coker and Dozie Onwuka’s wedding. Dunni Coker, a 24 -year-old art gallery owner and only daughter of her parents is about to marry the love of her life, IT entrepreneur Dozie. The couple took a vow of chastity and is looking forward to their first night together as a married couple. The awaited wedding day finally arrives and it comes with lots of unexpected drama.
The entire buzz-worthy, star-packed movie happens in a day. It doesn’t just kick off with a party; it is a movie that follows the events of an entire wedding day. Most of these events lead to the dramatic wedding party. There is an ex who is not over the groom, a mother-in-law who is thoroughly displeased with her son’s choice of wife, a cheating husband, an underappreciated son, a First class graduate turned robber, and the co-mothers-in-law who can’t stand each other and are in a competition to outshine each other. Despite how it seems like there is more than a lot going on in the film, Kemi Adetiba still successfully creates a clear and understandable romantic comedy.
Kemi Adetiba’s The Wedding Party is the perfect laugh-my-ass-off comedy. Seriously! The laughs hit you right from the start when bridesmaids Yemisi and Deardre encountered the Cokers’ driver, Harrison in his resplendent red suit and his smartass quips that had us viewers warming up with laughter. From then on to the very end, there was no sitting still in the wall. No contemplative silences. No hushed admonitions for noisemakers to keep quiet.
The romantic comedy set out to entertain, and by God! Entertain it did! It didn’t try to be deep. It understood its chosen genre and it stuck masterfully to it. With the exception of very few shows, Nigerian comedies are usually a bore to me, their comedic moments coming off as forced and the actors trying too hard. But that wasn’t the case here. This comedy was flawless. The film even ran the risk of giving every character room to be important, and the feat was well done, because every actor embodied his/her role. It was unbelievable. How you could look at each actor and not remember whatever other roles he or she had played; instead you’re too busy being pulled into this character, this scene, you’re pulled in and you’re staying with him.
When I was reading comments about the film on the social media, I noticed that a majority of my friends wanted to go see the film again ‘with their mothers’. I quickly understood why as I watched. The star attractions in the film were the mothers of the bride and groom, Tinuade Coker and Obianuju Onwuka. From Ireti Doyle’s ice-queen society lady to Sola Sobowale’s effusive Yoruba motherliness, these actresses were just too much! Sobowale was an especial darling, absolutely at the top of her game, playing the viewers’ favourite, whose every word, mannerism and gesture had us all rocking back and forth with laughter.
There were so many moving parts in the film, and yet director Kemi Adetiba pulled them all together into an appropriately relevant storyline. The direction is excellent, the dialogues are tight, the lines well delivered, and the scenes effortless. Adetiba doesn’t let her picture dawdle. The movie kicks off exciting the audience, and moves at a pace that makes it interesting to watch. The Wedding Party has more hits than misfires. It offers enough laughs to overshadow its flaws and should bring a smile to anyone who has planned, attended or had a Nigerian wedding.
Plus the comedy was such gold. I can’t over-emphasize this comedic aspect, especially when I remember the countless number of times I bounced up and down on my seat with laughter. Or the sense of community that hung heavy in the movie hall as we watched and appreciated what the movie was ultimately about – a Nigerian wedding.