Movie Review: Alakada Reloaded

Producer: Toyin Abraham

Cast: Toyin Abraham, Kehinde Bankole, Kemi Lala Akindoju, Iyabo Ojo, Lilian Esoro, Gabriel Afolayan, Odunlade Adekola, Annie Idibia, Mr Latin, Nedu, Comedian Ebiye, Woli Arole, Peteru, Ali Baba, Ijebu, Small Doctor, Helen Paul, Bimbo Kosoko

Year: 2017

When it comes to commercial success, comedy is the most profitable genre in Nigeria. The top grossing movies at the box office prove this. If you can make Nigerians laugh, you have an assured format of earning more millions. That’s the reason, Toyin Aimakhun was able to make N25 million in three days with “Alakada Reloaded.” The total earnings of “Alakada Reloaded” should run into N100 million by the end of its cinema run, but is the film worth all the return at the box office?

Alakada Reloaded, focuses on a young lady’s, Yetunde Animashaun, feelings of inadequacy and inferiority. Her social status and her poor background trigger her feelings of low self-worth. So, she deals with her personal “demons” by engaging in elaborate lies and utterly fictional stories that make her appear as a financial and social success.  Each lie is told to create the illusion that she’s financially well-off and has influence within certain social circles.

Alakada Reloaded attempts to caution against living above your means; an attribute common to not only Nigerian celebrities, but young Nigerians in general, who have an obscene obsession with being perceived as rich and ‘cool’. Pop culture dominates this one. From MMM (the biggest scam Nigeria ever endured) to the famous Big Brother Nigeria house, they all serve inspiration for the film. In “Alakada Reloaded” there is a fictional house where Yetunde and people of different walks of life live together. It is where her ability to flourish as a liar is explored. The fictional house also makes the better part of the film. Most of the housemates lead double lives and Yetunde who from her appearance and demeanor does not meet up to the others uses lies to sustain her time in the house.

When famous actor Odunlade Adekola appears in the house as himself, a famous and well respected actor, there are a few things to cheer the film for. Odunlade is referred to as one of the best stars the Yoruba film industry boasts of, but for many of us, it is the first time we watch him, and he lives up to the hype. Maybe improvised, maybe scripted, his lines are some of the best the film has.

The plot however is not synchronized, and the most despicable part, comes when Yetunde talks about breast cancer; this is offensive when it happens but the writer tries to redeem this by using it as an opportunity to enlighten us on the issue. For some, it is a good way of engaging an audience on breast cancer, but for those that have had family members that had to fight breast cancer; it is far from an enjoyable scene. Yetunde continues lying about flimsy things like skateboards and how they are used, and even though for most of the film Yetunde communicates in Yoruba, it does not stop her from lying about being from New York. Her continuous lies appear a mental disease but it is only a sign of low self-esteem. For a girl who was born poor, and unfortunately deep into her adulthood, she is still poor and is consumed by the fast paced world and how everyone seems to live larger than life. Yetunde banks on her lies. Yetunde is clearly illiterate; it is her illiteracy that makes a story in ‘Alakada Reloaded, anything that Yetunde comes in contact with, she brags about it. This, of course, can be enjoyable but there are moments when it feels exaggerated and everything falls flat.

The “ultimate redemption” for women is what saves Yetunde in the 3rd act of the film. She gets married and somehow that is redemption for Yetunde.

‘Alakada Reloaded” is the third in the series and the most successful and popular of the franchise by Toyin. The first installment was released in 2009 followed by a sequel released in 2013. I applaud the initiative to create a story that pushes the message of self-acceptance. Comedy is the best way to do this, what I am not sure of, is if the writer does this message any justice. In a bid to get her audience laughing, Toyin forgets about the importance of having an understandable plot, and instead she banks on hilarious dialogue and caricature characters as an excuse for releasing a film. While many of the people she encounters in the reality house also lead double lives, Yetunde is desperate to be identified with wealth. As soon as she is evicted from this reality show, many celebrities that make an appearance on the film are dissolved. The dominance of social media scam and security are also explored. These are the themes we can pick from the stories overloaded plot.

Yetunde is an exaggerated character but she is what makes the film enjoyable. With this film, Toyin Aimakhun has a shot at being a new comedic sensation despite its lack of quality. Funke Akindele has Jenifa, AY Makun Has Akpors, and very soon, Toyin Abraham might have a stable earning by continuing as Yetunde. One thing is sure, Nigerians love to laugh and even when the plot, editing, and cinematography lack quality; hilarious dialogue and caricature characters can gather you a crowd at the cinema and it will definitely make you rich.

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