THE WEDDING PARTY
Directed by: – Kemi Adetiba
Produced by: – Don Omope, Ijeoma Agukoro
Starring: – Adesua Etomi, Banky Wellington, Richard Mofe Damijo, Sola Sobowale, Ireti Doyle, Alibaba Akporobome, Zainab Balogun, Beverly Naya, Somkele Iyamah-Idhalama, Enyinna Nwigwe, Daniella Down
Running time: – 100 minutes (1hr 40mins)
Will true love stand even the most chaotic of wedding celebrations ?
Acting as collaboration between EbonyLife Films, FilmOne Distribution, Koga studios and Inkblot Productions , The Wedding Party seeks to chronicle the shenanigans that go on during a wedding in Nigeria. The story follows the beautiful and well-behaved Dunni Coker (Adesua Etomi), a 24 year old art gallery owners and only daughter of her Yoruba parents Bamidele Coker (Alibaba Akporobore) and Tinuade Coker (Sola Sobowale). She as about to marry the devilishly handsome IT entrepreneur and former playboy Dozie Onwuka (Banky Wellington) who is the son to Igbo parents Felix Onwuka (Richard Mofe Damijo) & Obianju Onwuka (Ireti Doyle).
But as everyone knows, wedding parties are not only a ceremony to celebrate the newly weds. It is also a battlefield for the wedding planner who is determined to put her name on the map. The party becomes a physical manifestation of the dating app Tinder, as matchmaking attempts on the bridal train will occur. Parents of the families will have to endure the unruly behaviour of the some guest and family members who hail from the village. Amongst all this chaos murmurs of infidelity will also rear its ugly head, as a ghost from the couples past will question the faithfulness of one of the parties involved in this matrimony. All this craziness is wrapped around colourful asoebi, geles, kaftans, suits, dresses, energetic music, small chops, a rampant phone thief and gift bag wahala. With this entire event happening at the pace of a speeding bullet one must wonder if the soon–to-be married couple can crawl out this of this party intact.
The movie comes with a relatable premise that will resonate with Nigerians everywhere. It features an all-star cast containing Nollywood rising stars Adesua Etomi, Somkele Iyamah- Idhalama and Beverley Naya. Veterans like Richard Mofe Damijo, Sola Sobowale & Ireti Doyle are join the party. It even adds the comedic talent of Alibaba and the star power of music mogul Banky Wellington a.k.a Banky W. With that said, The Wedding Party has all the ingredients to be a great swan song that caps off what has been a remarkable year for Nollywood.
- One of the dangers of having an all-star cast is that it ends up being used as a publicity gimmick to draw in crowds. Most times, the sad reality of this allure is that a lot of the stars featured don’t get prominent screen time and in certain cases are just reduced to mere cameo roles. It is great to announce that The Wedding Party doesn’t fall into this trap as the movie evenly balances out its stars screen time so that they get a lot of room to leave a lasting impression.
- On the topic of the stars and their reasonable screen time, the cast is an extremely lovable one thanks to good performances across the board. I have to give props to the films leads Banky Wellington for giving us a solid lead performance as Dozie. He played the role of the straight and sincere former playboy with conviction, as he did not try to overdramatize his role and keeps it natural. Adesua Etomi once again gives the audience a solid performance as the sweet and kind hearted Dunni who you can definitely believe that is in love with her significant other. A movie of this nature is made or broken on the two stars chemistry and the actor and actresses connection is very believable which makes it endearing to watch .
- Sola Sobowale turn as Dunni’s mother Tinuade, was without a doubt the films stand out performer as she gives the audience a hilarious over-the-top depiction of a Yoruba mother at a wedding. I loved her rapport with Ali Baba’s character Bamidele who was also the vessel to some of the films best jokes. Richard Mofe Damijo continues his great year with a good outing as Dozie’s father, a proud Igbo father trying to instil wisdom onto his sons while trying to save his own failing marriage with Obianju, a pretentious and cold hearted woman who is not fond of her daughter-in-law that is expertly portrayed by Ireti Doyle. Zainab Balogun presence as Wonu the wedding planner will have you cackling from start to finish because you won’t be able to stop looking at her descent to madness when she starts losing control of the party after her posh and militaristic introduction would suggest otherwise.
- I enjoyed Somkele Iyamah-Idhalama’s performance as Yemisi Disu, Dunni’s no nonsense maid of honour who’s acts as the perfect foil to Dunni’s politeness and naivety. The audience will also get a kick out of Daniella Down’s performance as Deardre Winston, the Caucasian co-maid of honour of Dunni who really immerses herself in the Nigerian culture. Beverly Naya also had a good showing as Rosie, the antagonistic ex- girlfriend of Dozie who will stop at nothing to ruin the wedding with various seduction techniques and psychological tricks to get one over Dunni and steal Dozie from her. Even Ayo Makun who many will recognise as AY gets to redeem himself from his disappointing performance in A Trip to Jamaica as he gives a relatively subdued performance as the MC for the celebration.
- Time and time again I have said one of the greatest things a comedy movie can do is keep its audience laughing at a fairly consistent rate. The picture does not disappoint in this regard as the jokes come at a machine gun rate that will have you chuckling. From the scene where everyone intensely stares each other down when the priest asks the congregation if there is anyone who is opposed to the wedding to the Pastor’s speech the in reception which goes too far to the class and tribal tensions that is hilariously felt throughout the day to the phone thief who laments about the economic situation we currently face whilst holding guests at gun point , the movie is definitely not short of comedic moments.
- One of the things that you will notice out of the gate is the film’s fantastic production value. Compared to the similarly themed Its Her Day, The Wedding Party blows the aformentioned movie out of the water in this department . The picture looked crisp and clean. The sound quality was top notch and the movie had some great shots of Lagos. This feat was achieved thanks to Kemi Adetiba and the cinematographer’s creative camera work and direction. The movie also feels authentic thanks to the soundtrack as the movie plays popular songs played at weddings like Flavour’s “Ada Ada” , Kiss Daniel’s “Mama” & “Laye” and Skales “Ijo Ayo” which help add to the movies style and character.
- One of the challenges that hurt the movie was its handling of various sub-plots. I mentioned earlier that I appreciated the movies fair treatment of its cast as they were given enough time to shine. Despite this, the movie comes out scathed no thanks to its rushed sub-plots. This is due to the fact all characters have to resolve their issues in the time limit of an hour and a half, some of the films secondary storylines are lazily forced into proceedings and get resolved in a manner that isn’t completely satisfying. Key examples of this particular flaw is evident when the movie chooses to focus its attention on the growing tension between Richard Mofe Damijo and Ireti Doyle’s character or RMD’s relationship and trust issues with Dozies older brother, Nonso who is played by Enyinna Nwigwe . This film still manages to mitigate this criticism as a lot of other sub-plots still get a gratifying pay-off. A highlight of mine was definitely the one revolving around the wedding planner and the local caterer, as the conclusion of that side-story was hilarious.
- The films first two acts were refreshing for a romantic comedy because it has the Nigerian character, culture and humour backing the production. Unfortunately the third act of the film whilst still being very funny and well executed falls into the realm of clichéd romantic comedy tropes that were a little too cheesy for my liking. With that said its not enough to damage the whole experience.
The wedding Party is a star studded romantic comedy affair that will have you laughing from start to finish thank to its relatable story that is backed up with great characters and performances from its talented cast . A highly recommended watch.
RATING: WORTH A WATCH