When Love Happens: Think Again!
Movie Title : When Love Happens
Director: Seyi Babatope
Screenplay: Dichie Enunwa, Temitope Bolade
Starring: Werruche Opia, OC Ukeje, Gideon Okeke, Beverly Naya, Oreka Godis
RUNNING TIME: 109 minutes
Year of Release: October 2014
SYNOPSIS: Moduroti “Mo” Bankole is a fervent believer in love and fairy tales. She plans weddings for a living but cannot seem to find love. However, after a series of disastrous dates, she finds out that love is closer than she thinks.
This review does not contain any spoilers. We might not even call it a “professional” review. Just a rant from a well intending Nollywood fan who still watches Nigerian films at the Cinema.
When Love Happens is a “happy go lucky” film. It is a relief, a bubble gum type of story, a good suspension of reality from the harshness of present day Nigeria and it is certainly something you should want to pay
five hundred naira to watch.
Werruche Opia, a first timer, is the lead character in this delightful rom-com. She is sweet, adorable even and conveniently switches from the ajebutter tongue to the correct Naija English (which we love). However, she sometimes looks overwhelmed by running the show all by herself as the lead and you can almost see her wanting the whole film to be over already.She reads her lines (which I am sure she never missed on set) perfectly well, but sometimes forgets to act. She almost made me want to toss her aside and pick Beverly Naya to help her act the rest of her scenes at some point.But through it all, she is fun to watch, she is someone Nollywood lovers should watch out for and with great directors, she would continue to shine.
Werruche might have oscillated from being Moduroti to her real self but Beverly Naya, held her own. She shone through the scenes she acted in and gave us no doubt why she remains “hot cake” in the Nigerian film industry.
OC Ukeje, an amazing performer who never gives us room to doubt his talent however, seemed unconvincing with his role. The lines were smooth, the delivery was not. When he appears in his first scene, revealed slowly by a newspaper clutched in his hands, looking dapper (and ridiculous with that tinted beard), we know a sleek bad boy is here, this is Nigeria’s own LL Cool J, Robert Downey Jnr and Taiye Diggs all meshed into one and we cannot wait for him to speak. Then he begins to speak, the lines and the poise look like a sharp contrast, and we cannot wait for him to stop.
Gideon Okeke (and the awful hat) seemed to be a joke played on us by the entire production crew. Gideon who has won hearts (mine inclusive) playing Phillip Ade-Williams on Tinsel, seemed too comfortable being Gideon. He did not want to be Tobe, he did not even try to be Tobe. He probably did not see the role as challenging, or maybe, just maybe, he exhausted his acting talents on the popular Mnet soap opera.
Oreka Godis on the other hand, was unseen in almost all of her scenes. Thank goodness for her snarky sarcastic lines, we almost forget she is there when she is. One almost wonders if there was need for her character in this movie, seeing as even the plot describes her job as unknown. After you leave the cinema, Oreka is the first thing you forget about this movie (except you are her friend then bravo, your friend was in a film…).
The delectable Shaffy Bello, the amazing Keppy Ekpeyong Bassey, the beautiful Bukky Wright, the over made up Wale Ojo, Desmond Elliot and the ever funny Helen Paul, were a delight to watch.
Seyi Babatope is not new to the film business. He has got potential, anyone who makes a Sex and the City kind of film successfully in Nigeria without making us cringe or raise eyebrows deserves applause. I recommend that we award him one of those funny looking cocktails his members of cast kept pouring down their throats throughout the movie!
He could make major improvements. The scene where Gideon struggles with his emotions (which makes us feel scarce nothing) with Werruche in his house, had the camera swinging back and forth so many times I had a serious case of vertigo.
He could work more on picking his cast. This will help him tell a better story through them. He could make his scenes less drab and drag less. And Yes, what was with all the empty bars with empty/almost empty chairs? In Lagos???
THE WRITERS (AND DIRECTOR)
They say the first rule of screenplay is to make somebody feel something. When Love Happens is not an experience, it does not make you feel anything. Oh well, I felt something. A myriad of emotions even. Let me list them out:
Anger at Gideon’s hideous hat
Annoyance at OC’s ridiculously tinted beard
Mild irritation at the refusal of the writers/director to spring at least one surprise on their audience
Sheer horror at Werruche repeating the same dress and wig she wore in a previous scene
and those funny looking cocktails that WOULD NOT GO AWAY!
By the time the movie neared its resolution, I almost did not care who the main character ended up with because I was not made to feel anything for/against any of the two male love interests.
AND THIS IS BECAUSE
This film is a cliche, from the title to the dialogue to the structure to the story itself. However, the problem is not making a cliche, the problem is not being able to thrive on the cliche you make.
This film does not thrive on its cliche. It hopelessly drowns in it.
Mo (Werruche) will not talk to Dare (OC) or agree to go on a date with him, then he turns out to be the best man at Jennifer’s (Beverly) wedding. Tada!
Mo (Werruche) walks into Dare’s (OC) apartment calling out for him, getting no response and then walks into the room to find him sleeping with another woman. Surprise!
Dare (OC) cheated on Mo (Werruche) the first time they dated and then the writers conveniently toss that in the way when they want to get Mo and her true love, Tobe (Gideon) together. Creative!
I said this did not contain spoilers so I will not go on.
One thing though, it always helps to reduce your cliches as much as you can.
The make-up is mostly well done until you see Tseju (Oreka Godis) looking impeccably/heavily made up and you begin to wonder what the occasion is. And Mr. Luguda (Wale Ojo), appears looking more like he is going to a Halloween costume party as Morgan Freeman with all the grey the whoever was in charge of make-up stuffed on his head.
This is the best thing about the whole movie. It is original, it is beautiful and it is remarkable. Bliss!
WHY YOU WILL LOVE WHEN LOVE HAPPENS
This film is certainly one with no surprises, but it is funny, it is a chic flick that anyone who loves chick flicks will love and it is certainly a guilty pleasure.