Film Review: Phone Swap As Produced by Kunle Afolayan
Script: Kemi Adesoye
Director: Yinka Edwards and Afred Chai
Producer: Kunle Afolayan
Cast: Wale Ojo, Nse Etim Ikpe, Joke Silva and Lydia Forson
Reviewer : Ayodele Olofintuade
Phone swap is an unabashedly romantic comedy. From the first scene to the last you are either laughing out loud or chuckling into your pretty expensive crépe that you are managing to eat because the cinema does not make eba and ogbono soup available, it is not sophisticated enough.
Mary (Nse Etim Ikpe), a much used and abused, but talented tailor, was very happy when her boss decided to pay for her flight to Owerri where she had to attend to a family emergency. Akin (Wale Ojo) on the other hand plans to play another one of his ‘one-upmanship’ games on his colleagues who had never liked him because he was not a team player. They planned not to tell him about a retreat in Abuja where they were to meet the new major shareholder of the company. Unfortunately for them their plans failed because Akin had a major-domo who was also a wonderful spy on his side.
At the airport the Mary and Akin bumped into each other due to the fact that Mary was so excited by being in an airport for the first time in her life. In the process of gathering their stuff after the collision the two of them got their blackberry phones mixed up. That was the beginning of a life changing journey for both of them.
In what has become a hallmark of Kunle Afolayan’s movies the camera shots were beautiful and the transition from one scene to the next flawless. The producers did their homework and I say kudos. The movie was so well shot that it can proudly stand side by side with any film produced in other parts of the world.
The part that has stuck to me was the way the fight scene between Akin’s ex-girlfriend, a Ghananian fiend (played by Lydia Forson) and Mary, was interwoven with the fight scene between Mary’s ex-boyfriend and Akin. For that scene alone I totally forgive the cinema for not having eba and ogbono soup on their menu.
Wale Ojo was in character as a, prim and proper, slave driver. He did not slip up once, and so was Nsen Etim Ikpe, she played her role of a woman just realizing how powerful her talent could be perfectly. Joke Silva was no exception, a reformed drunk trying to obtain her son’s forgiveness for the way she neglected him when he was young. Although Lydia Forson had a few bumps in the scene she was introduced as Wale’s fiendish sot of a girlfriend, but she rallied in latter scenes and ended up making the audience love her character in spite of its flaws.
Every character in the movie was well rounded. You knew why they are where they are at every point in time. There was enough background information shown in the first few scenes by the filmmakers so that you won’t have to wonder why someone behaved in a certain way.
I must confess that there were one or two scenes in the film, when you get a feeling that something went wrong somewhere during post production but it was not enough to detract from the movie as a whole. The story was tightly woven together and the comedy was not too slapstick.
I enjoyed the way the way the changes that occurred in the characters were unfolded over the course of the movie, and particularly love the way women were portrayed. For a change Nigerian women were strong, smart and beautiful. Although the women in this film are flawed, like every other human being, they were also shown to be inherently good and beautiful.
A note of warning though, expect to watch advert placements by a major airline and a mobile service provider. The producers hit you smack on the head with it. No subtleties, just plain old hustling of a service.
Now to the lessons I learnt:
- How not to eat crépes.
- It is possible to show women as victors and not victims in a Nollywood movie and still get Nigerians to watch it.
And finally, don’t be in a hurry to leave the theatre once the credits starts rolling, you’ll miss out on a pleasant surprise at the end of the movie.
Ayodele Olofintuade is the author Of Eno’s Story published by Cassava Republic Press and shortlisted for the NLNG Prize for Literature 2012.