I guess a new and effective marketing strategy is to put up a sponsored post on a popular blog then have your people flood its comment section and praise the product. I have no evidence of this but that must have been what had happened with The Diary of a Lagos Girl post on Bella Naija. I never intended to watch the movie, at least not pay to see it at the cinema. Yet some comments had me rearranging my entire plans for the day, cancelling and rescheduling and ultimately heading to The Palms Lekki for a movie date with myself and this Lagos girl that had got people talking.
I payed for my tickets, and although it was past 6pm, I said diet be damned! This is going to be a juicy one so today is cheat day. I proceeded to the snack counter to grab popcorn and a soda. I bounced into the movie hall with a spring in my step, I was pumped up with anticipation!
Five minutes into the movie, my high began to ebb away. Thirty minutes in, I was shuffling my feet restlessly. Forty five minutes and the chic behind me muttered "What kind of rubbish movie is this?" One hour in and several seats seemed to have lost their occupants. Fifteen minutes later mine lost its too.
I was trying to decide if the movie wasn't so bad, maybe it just wasn't my cup of tea. But as I got to the door I saw two gentlemen chatting to each other. When they saw me emerge from the door one came to me and said "The movie is whack, yeah?". This he said rhetorically. To which I responded "Azzzzzzzzzn". "Bloody waste of my time" he spat. And for a millisecond he and I stood, strangers yet kindred spirits bonding over wasted money/fuel/time.
Let me put this in context lest it seem I rant amiss. These are the reasons I was so put off by this movie.
I know Nollywood sometimes seems cursed with an ineptitude for brilliant scripts that stun, excite or surprise. But if there ever was an award for Most Predictable Movie in Nigerian History, DOLG wins hands down, no contest! Ten minutes into the movie and you already know how it's going to end.
By now you must have figured that my main grouse is that I found the movie to be too predictable. Yes, but that's not all. Like I just said, most Nollywood movies have an affinity for predictability. However most scriptwriters are creative enough to make you not mind that so much. That was absent here. I constantly found myself wondering if this was written by a teenager as a literature assignment...
The plot (if there was one), storyline and dialogue were rather weak and awkward.
Speaking of dialogue, I nearly gagged at the use of overused clichés. Tautology, I know but that's just how bad it was. What's with the use of tired lines like "I'd rather cry in a Range Rover bla bla bla" and "Warri no dey carry last (but in lagos it's all about carrying first)"?
The directing and video quality also left a lot wanting.
The movie in its entirety seemed like the rehearsal before the dress rehearsal.
I understand that the movie was intended to be light and fluffy romcom stuff but that's no excuse whatsoever for the inferior piece of production, especially if you've flooded it with A listers.
The cast all seemed uncomfortable and very aware that they were acting a movie, and some of these are otherwise very talented actors.
Linda Ejiofor was entertaining as she usually is but her performance was unusually off and uneasy to watch.
Alex Ekubo was just BLAND. I loved him in The First Lady and I was hoping that movie was the start of great things in his acting, but it turns out that might have been a one off.
OC Okeje... This is one actor who has always confused me. Ok, he hasn't confused me, his fans have. I tried, and failed to see what all the hype is about. Here, he was simply ok, as usual.
Adunni Ade got me wondering. Truth be told, most characters in the movie were poorly developed. However I loved the way her lines were peppered with yoruba, it added some spice.
Dolapo Oni had me nodding in approval. For a fledgling actor she actually did a very decent job. Unfortunately I didn't really understand her character. If she didn't do runs, didn't seem to have a fantastic job, didn't come from money, didn't have a car then I don't understand how she could have afforded that all-authentic-designer wardrobe. But that's okay I guess. Her acting was fine, she showed some range and versatility.
Truth be told, Diary of a Lagos Girl left so much wanting. While it was not a boring movie, it was very predictable, terribly executed and poorly scripted. (My eyes keeping smarting at the memory of the wedding scene, where wife and husband seemed like madam and driver. And the bride and bridesmaids seemed to belong to two different weddings).
It was easy to see that most of us came there with great expectations. It was even easier to see excitement deflate as people began to leave one after the other. The ones who stayed behind began to chat about other things and the others didn't even mind the noise.
I appreciate whatever effort went into making this movie but I hope next time the producers would invest more in making quality productions, and realize that it doesn't matter the number of stars you throw into a movie, a bad movie is a bad movie.
So that's my rant. Its not meant as a critique of the movie, or as a tool of dissuasion for those yet to see it. But merely an expression of my discontent.
...Maybe I wouldn't be so irate if I hadn't paid to watch it. Maybe there's something to be said for those people who say they can never go and pay to watch a Nollywood movie at the cinema (I think they're wrong by the way). But should anyone involved in that project get to read this, I hope that even if they find it offensive, it spurs them to do better next time. After all there's always room for improvement in life.
I might have been off the mark in my first paragraph and the comments of ebullient praise I referred to might be from fans who genuinely loved and enjoyed the movie. Have you seen Diary Of a Lagos Girl? Please share your thoughts.