Last night at the Greenwich Odeon Cinema in London, ‘When Love Happens’ received a grand premiere—and it has also been released in selected UK cinemas for further showings…
The film which joins the path of the new emerging crop of well produced and packaged Nollywood movies, capable of taking slots in the big UK cinemas repeatedly sent the audience into the enchanting chamber of laugher; unforced and unpredicted.
My co-critic and fiancée-SassyChic who is not a fan of loud cinema outburst of laughter couldn’t hold hers—even though that was the second time we were seeing the movie. Such is the unadulterated comedy—in action and in words that the movie serves.
It’s a perfect RomCom with a well balanced audience reaction; the ‘Awwws’ that exude the fact that romance was at play were frequently doled out with genuine giggles and laughter—the exact reaction RomCom’s ought to invoke, even with mixed audience.
Directed by Seyi Babatope, the movie sets off with Moduroti Bankole –Smith (played by Weruche Opia), a 28 year old woman whose conventional hunt for love was pushed to new forms by the impending wedding of a friend.
Outside the pressures and constant reminders that she has not found love in a long time caused by the fact that she was an event planner hired to be in charge of her snobby friend’s wedding, Mo lived in a home where fairytale love somewhat surprisingly existed.
Mo’s parents who were madly in love as if they had just met couldn’t stop nudging her to find someone and despite the many men on the streets of Lagos, Mo bought into the advice of trying online dating—after all, the conventional modes couldn’t fetch her a thing.
Just as the ‘desperate’ Lagos girl was trying online dating while occasionally sharing her wacky dating experiences with a worldwide audience through a vlog, an old flame-Dare Laguda (played by OC Ukeje) returns to town to further muddy the waters.
Unknown to her, her close friend-Tobe Okoronkwo (played by Gideon Okeke) secretly harboured affection for her—a situation which started to reverberate as an under current.
The true comedy of the movie takes stand from Mo’s many online dating experiences—and also the various dialogues were perfectly coated with subtle punch lines which ignited the audience’s ‘amusement buds’.
The rarely used Nigerian pidgin which was well subtitled had a unique way of pulling everyone into the laughter room—and I loved the fact that, it wasn’t just all about the need to sound perfect.
Initially, Mo’s delivery as an actress was slightly wobbly (unconvincing for me) but as the story progressed, you get soaked into the comedy, the relevance of the storyline and the clever acting from Bassey Ekpeyong, Shaffy Bello, Desmond Elliot and Gideon Okeke—to the extent that you take no further note of the fact that, Mo as a lead had a false start.
The beauty of the movie sits on the fact that, it takes the everyday ‘real’ struggles of women looking for love and perches them with the societal pressures to deliver a contemporary love story laced with a good degree of laughter—while showcasing the ‘cosmopolitan lifestyle’ of Lagos.
Though the camera work was of good cinematic standard, the important scene between Tobe and Mo after Mo returned from a trip abroad should have been reshot—as the camera kept poorly moving from Mo to Tobe and back in a way that negatively reminds you that; despite it all, this is a Nollywood movie…
Also, certain scenes were dragged—a hallmark of all African movies borne out of the fact that our conversations are always prolonged with the need to give significance to unnecessary details.
‘When Love Happens’ is an exciting attempt to repackage the African love story for a diverse audience on the big screens. It’s the Nollywood we’ve long waited to see—evoking genuine laughter on the solid premise of a relevant storyline.
The film comes from those (Future Gate Pictures, Phebean Films and FilmOne Distribution) who brought us successful box office smash hits-Half of a Yellow Sun and October 1.
Kene Okwuosa and Kene Mkparu (of Filmhouse Cinemas and FilmOne Distribution) are the Executive Producers with Seyi Babatope and Moses Babatope as the producers.
‘When Love Happens’ is currently showing in these selected UK cinemas;
Sept 4 to 10 – 19.00pm and 21.30pm
Sept 4 to 10 – 18.50pm and 21.20pm
Odeon MANCHESTER Printworks
Sept 4, 5, 6 & 8 – 19pm
Odeon BIRMINGHAM Broadway Plaza
Sept 5 and 6 – 19.15pm