Sunday, May 30, 2010

Movie Review: Baba JayeJaye

Title: Baba JayeJaye

Starring: Funke Akindele, Babatunde Omidina, Femi Adebayo, Kayode Odumosu, Ranti Adebayo, Iyabo Odukanmi.

Producer: Babatunde Omidina

Screenplay: Babatunde Omidina, Monsuru Obadina, Kehinde Adeyemi, Gabade Oguntoyosi, Yomi King

Story: Babatunde Omidina

Director: Monsuru Obadina

Year of production: 2009

Country: Nigeria.

Genre: Comedy

Language: Yoruba (with subtitles)

Preamble: I have been out of the loop with Yoruba movies for quite a while, and honestly, I have not heard good things about the genre. I had tried to come back by watching the much hyped Jenifa, hated it and thus continued my hiatus. I am glad I came back because honestly, this was pretty good!


Summary: Baba Suwe (called Asumo by his mother) is a stereotypical Lagos Landlord with wife (Iyabo Odukanmi) and kids in Lagos. He meets Kikelomo (played by Funke Akindele) at an eatery and loses his mind, kicks out his wife and starts to spend money on her in a profligate manner. Kike is so expensive; he ends up neglecting his kids and his aged mother who depend on him financially. Baba Suwe and Kike’s relationship is one of the funniest things I have ever seen. Baba Suwe is a bush, illiterate, uneducated man with no table manners, while Funke is the more sophisticated, worldly wise Lagos babe, playing him like a fiddle!! Hilarious!! You could call this the Nigerian version of a midlife (or perhaps end of life) crisis movie. How does it work out for Baba Suwe and his May-December romance?

Positives: First of all it is in only one part which is great, considering Nigerian movies nowadays have so many parts, they could be considered soap operas. It’s unfortunate that Yoruba movies do not get enough credit, because some of them are pretty good. Also, the subtitling was adequate. Could have been better in parts, but even if you don’t speak Yoruba, I am pretty sure that you can follow it quite well. In terms of content, Baba Suwe and Funke Akindele are nothing short of hilarious for the most part. The restaurant kissing scene just left me in stitches! And the landlord and tenant scene, where Funke speaks English and the landlord does not understand a word of it, Oh my word!! The rest of the cast was very good as well – the mother, the scorned wife, the tenants, the extended family. Mostly perfect casting. I also loved the fact that the settings were not over sanitized, as in many of the English language movies, creating an overly sophisticated, but very atypical setting. It was all very conventional, normal and very relatable. You could just see this whole scene playing out in inner city Lagos, with Baba Suwe as your crazy landlord, fighting with his feisty wife. Technically, it was not perfect, picture could have been better, but it was pretty adequate. I could only get it on vcd, so that may have affected the picture quality. The metamorphosis of Baba Suwe from an agbada (native attire) wearing old man to a jeans sagging with underwear showing, earrings sporting, tennis rocking, scarf and leather glove displaying dude just to keep up with his young lady love was just classic! Good heavens! I also liked the display of culture in the engagement scene. That scene was actually pretty representative of the real thing. Some effort was made in putting this one together – good job!

Negatives: However, it was not quite perfect. First there was the issue of progression : first we saw, Kikelomo was totally disgusted by the old man. And next thing, they were all over each other. Also, and I guess this is begging for a separate article, the violence in Nigerian movies is very bad. Even for comedy purposes, the fact that the lesson teacher (Kayode Odumosu) felt comfortable bringing out a belt to attack Baba Suwe for being a bad student was unfortunate. It was not funny and is actually an indictment of our violence prone culture. In addition, several scenes could have done with some editing, for instance, the birthday scene, which was waay too long. And most disappointing for me, towards the end they screwed it up with a juju (medicine man) scene. I was so happy that this one was juju free, but alas, towards the end, they had to have one. But I suppose it is realistic. A lot of people do believe in and rely on that, as we all know. Although I guess one positive lesson we had from the scene in this particular movie is that it does not work and only makes you look ridiculous.I suppose that was a good way to do it if it had to be done at all. However, I still don’t like it. I would love our movies to elevate our mode of thinking. Finally, towards the end, the movie started to drag, although I think it was all wrapped up very nicely.

Lesson/Worldview: In the west, when a man gets to be middle-aged and feels that he is getting old, he may get a sports car, or divorce his wife and find a young hot blond in order to feel better about himself. More often than not though, the young ladies who hang out with men old enough to be their fathers are usually gold diggers. Nothing good ever comes out of kicking out the woman who stuck with you through hard times and bore you your children. It never, ever ends well, as Baba Suwe found out at great cost. In the African context though, the movie also all too clearly reflects the relative powerlessness of too many women in our society – the fact that the old man could just throw his wife and kids out with no consequence says a lot about gender rights and how much still has to be done to protect women in such situations.

Rating: 7/10. It was really funny in many parts. I highly recommend it.

Availability: I was really excited to find that there is a place where you can get Yoruba movies in America finally. They are all on vcd and I suspect, they are all genuine. I am 90percent certain that their movies are the real thing and not pirated copies. If I learn otherwise I will come correct myself. You can check them out here.


Monday, May 17, 2010

The hype: Nollywood hustlers

As I mentioned in my last entry, the movies this year have been soooo bad that I have no incentive to review them. Its horrible. My reviews, when they return, will be of the older movies. Nothing good has come out of Nollywood this year, and it seems that with the exception of Shirley's movies, everything Ghana produces now seems to be soft porn! Na wah!

Luckily though, it appears that we have some decent movies to look forward to - one can only hope that they live up to the promise.

Today, we start with the satire/comedy Nollywood hustlers.
Uche Jombo ex mathematician (impressive huh?) executive produced this one, while Emem Isong produced it. Here is the synopsis of the movie:

"Elvis (Charles Inojie) and Lucky (Bishop) are two no-good-out-of-work hustlers who want to shoot a film. They enlist the help of Prince Adolphus Akabogwu (Ejike Asiegbu) to sponsor it and the pepper soup joint assistant Scholarstica (Uche Jombo) to feature. But how do they get the A-List actors, Monalisa Chinda and Ramsey Nouah (acting as themselves) to act without paying their exorbitant fee? They then come up with a brilliant plan that leads to severe consequences for the pair. 'Nollywood Hustler' is a satire on the film making process in Nigerian film industry that will leave you laughing from start to finish. Produced by Emem Isong and written by Bola Aduwo & Uduak Isong Oguamanam, it has Uche Jombo as the Executive Producer and features several stars in cameo appearances." Source

Interesting plot no? That is what I thought too, until I discovered that it is some kind of copy of the the Hollywood movie Bowfinger. Hmmmmmm! For the record, there is nothing wrong with remaking a movie if you acknowledge that it is a remake. So nollywood, take note!

Anyways, here is the trailer:

I will admit that it does look funny, so I am looking forward to it. There are some pics from the movie here and premiere pics here and here.

The movie is apparently making the theater rounds in Naija. Hopefully its available on dvd soon.


About Me

This website is devoted to fans of African movies who want to know which ones are worth watching. We only review above average movies on this site. The purpose is to give props to the actors, producers and directors who have squeezed water out of rocks and created decent entertainment against all odds. If you want to review a movie for us, please email We would be happy to feature all good african film, regardless of age, or origin. Thanks for stopping by