James Abinibi’s ‘Mentally’ isn’t a great film, but it has snatches of brilliance


James Abinibi’s ‘Mentally’ isn’t a great film, but it has snatches of brilliance

By True Nollywood Stories

2017 is undoubtedly Kunle Idowu aka Frank Donga‘s year. Being the leading man in two cinema films within a space of three months is no small feat.

With these films, he makes a statement that he is more than a pink shirt, an awkward tie and funny grammar, especially since one of them, his role as Hakkunde, isn’t even a comic role. While his mannerisms in the films haven’t been exactly diverse, there is great potential and I am totally here for it as a fan and supporter of his work. This is probably why I went into the cinema in hope, despite already been beaten by many a comedy film.

Mentally, a film written, produced and directed by James Abinibi tells the story of Akin who decides to move to Lagos from his hometown to hustle. He has been promised accommodation by his old friend from polytechnic, Emeka, who is also ‘hustling’. His mother warns him to be careful, because she senses danger looming, and he tells her he would be.

James Abinibi with Frank Donga Kunle Idowu, Adekunle Gold and more on set of ‘Mentally’

Amidst the regular Lagos encounters when coming by public transport, he finally meets Emeka who takes him to get lunch and then to meet up with some other friends. At this meet up, he is persuaded to take a drag on weed which leads him into a place he doesn’t bargain for among strange people who speak an incomprehensible language.

The general idea is to be funny, which is why the story comes across as being paid very little mind. However, the humor is stretched too long in the restaurant and with Emeka’s friends, and the repetition of “mentally” more than twice steps on an obviousness-repellant nerve. The scene feels like a means to while away time, and the characters seem to adlib rowdily throughout, making it look like an Instagram skit.

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Disclaimer: This isn’t a review.

I’m sorry, you’d have to check Andrew Oke or Ife Olujuyigbe for that one. Can’t be worrying about people snatching my edges on the street ’cause I wrote a movie review for TNS. Yup, seriously.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s get to business.

Fact; Omoni Oboli is one of the hardest working women in Nollywood today.

Fact; Omoni Oboli is not a feminist. Or so it seems.

If we were to go by her portrayal of women in her most recent work; Okafor’s Law, that is.

On Friday night, I found myself at the cinema with my youngest brother, paying for two tickets for Okafor’s Law.

After watching numerous trailers and the questionable trailer for ‘Whose Meal Ticket Is It?’ (anyone know who’s responsible for that travesty?) I finally got what I was waiting for – Okafor’s Law.

I knew what to expect, so no, I wasn’t waiting for a movie that’ll attempt to cure cancer. Or solve our Dino Melaye problems. This was a chick flick, a rom com, a movie about many scenes featuring Blossom Chukwujekwu’s hot bod blossoming from scene to scene.

What I wasn’t expecting however, was Mrs Oboli’s decision to portray every single woman in the movie as an idiot.

Yes, Idiot.

If you haven’t seen the movie, here’s a summary;

Chuks, a renowned player, (who has a job he never does, except he’s an Uber driver ’cause we basically only see him drive through the entire film, true story) tries to prove to his two friends (one with a girlfriend who calls vagina ‘sugar box’ and another with a wife who blackmails him in the only scenes we see her) that he can kpansh/gbensh/knack any woman he’s hooked up with in the past.

Interesting, yeah? So basically, this entire movie is about Chuks proving that theory.

Now, there are 3 women he decides to try this with; Ify, Tomi and Ejiro. Each of which seem far-fetched. Problem is, these women are the most shocking description of women you’ve seen anywhere other than Yoruba Nollywood.

In 21st century Nigeria, where women are fighting to be taken as seriously as their male counterparts and feminists are trying to push the agenda ‘feminists aren’t angry’ women, Mrs Oboli manages to take us ten steps back.

Now, no one is asking her to burden herself with the herculean task of being a feminist. But can we not constantly add to the terrible/cliche portrayal of the Nigerian women?

Back to the film in question. Chuks and his friends pick three women for their ‘test’.

Ify is married to a man older than her who ‘cuts her off’ because she cheated on him and clearly, has no job of her own. Hello?

Ejiro is the crazy bitch who goes I.n.s.a.n.e when Chuks sleeps with her and attempts to dump her immediately. Guys, this chic even starts planning an imaginary wedding! :/

Uhn-uhn, further painting that women-are-crazy stereotype on the big screen!

Tomi, the only woman I had hopes for, becomes more emotional than realistic when at the end she doubts a firm decision she’s taken because the man she dumped is marrying a chic who warned her against him. Can’t keep up? Me neither.

The only older woman in the movie, Chuks’ mother, then dashed the remainder of my hopes when she gives Chuks the most ridiculous advice a mother has ever given her grown up son! How?

And let’s not forget the bride who easily parts her legs for Chuks post traditional wedding and then begins to ask the most popular question on twitter as populated by boys – What are we doing?

Inyama!

Even Ify’s PA, played by Lala Akindoju who doubles as bodyguard gives it all up after a few glasses of liquor.

Again, this isn’t me asking for too much, this is me wondering why every single woman in this movie is problematic with faulty reasoning. You mean we cannot get a movie about ONE woman behaving herself in an entire 90 minutes or so?

A movie from one of the most constant Producers in the business who is incidentally a woman and which was shown in festivals around the world offers this appalling image of the Nigerian woman? No woman with small common sense?

I know I’d be madder if this were a male director. But coming from a woman? Man, I weak die.

Check out Okafor’s Law at the cinema and let me know if you share this sentiment.

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The transition to the Mukunu village through the show of running feet gets the movie brighter; however, it takes an eternity to switch from scene to scene. Finally, the movie picks up momentum when three men go out to hunt and plot against Akin.

It is remarkably creative how the subtitling disappears and the men, one of which is a jealous favorite hunter to the village king, talk about how they must have offended their god Jingo to have seized subtitles. This is when you realise it isn’t meant to be serious at all.

Mentally has snatches of brilliance from time to time, especially with Akin’s theatrics, Emeka’s easygoingness, Adekunle Gold‘s bus conductor bit and Yaw‘s one-liners as a bus driver.

Woli Arole also makes a cameo as a fake pastor, and Kunle Afod is crazy hilarious as Ariba’s right-hand man. The ‘if I could find my way home’ soundtrack is timely and an absolute beauty.

Predictably, Mentally ends with Akin’s mother being right (there had to be a reason she kept insisting at the beginning of the movie, ‘remember the son of whom you are’ style). The narcotic peddlers lure Akin in, but he escapes by the skin of his teeth.

The movie also features Soma Ayanma of Big Brother Naija, Comedian Senator, Toyin Abraham, Abayomi Alvin, Eric Didier, Chris Okagbue, Rotimi Salami, Sukanmi Omobolanle and Jude Chukwuka as Ariba, the village king.

Mentally fulfils its promise to be funny, and not much else.

50%

This post first appeared on TNS.

The post James Abinibi’s ‘Mentally’ isn’t a great film, but it has snatches of brilliance appeared first on Nigerian Entertainment Today – Nigeria’s Top Website for News, Gossip, Comedy, Videos, Blogs, Events, Weddings, Nollywood, Celebs, Scoop and Games.

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