By Williams ‘Bantu’ Irubor
“Omugwo” is a comedy movie that possesses enough to be perfect in its genre. It has an interesting and relatable plot, a witty script and dialogue flow (Kudos to the script writer), a beautifully paired cast in Ken Erics as Raymond, Omowunmi Dada as Omotunde, Patience Ozokwor as Chimamanda and Ayo Adesanya as Candance.
The movie follows Omotunde, a young civil engineer (who supervises the construction of skyscrapers in the Eko Atlantic City) married to Raymond, an OAP (who documents his domestic affairs on his gig on Radio Lagos 107.5 FM). The couple welcome their first child together.
Raymond’s mother (Chimamanda) and Omotunde’s mother (Candance) move in with the couple to perform the popular Igbo tradition called Omugwo (a tradition in Igbo land where a nursing mother and her baby are taken care of by a relative, usually the nursing mother’s mom).
Naturally, Omotunde’s mother, Candance (Ayo Adesanya) should be the helper of first choice but as a colourful woman about town, – we are never quite told what exactly she does for a living,- Candance has plans of her own and they don’t include the earlier than expected arrival of a not-quite-wanted grandchild.
Chimamanda (Patience Ozokwor) capitalises on this vacuum and manipulates her son into having her over for the three month period. Candance, vain and petulant as she is, imagines her status under threat and decides she wants in too. Both matriarchs, formidable in their own rights seize upon the home of the young, innocent and hapless couple, causing mayhem and settling a few scores. They teach some life lessons too. This after all is an Africa Magic production (lol).
Chimamanda is understanding with her maternal instinct fully at work, while Candance is very vain and super dramatic.
While Chimamanda is excited about the birth of her first grandchild, Candance is petrified at the thought of being called a grandmother.
The rivalry between their mothers, the couple’s different cultural backgrounds, Omotunde’s Postpartum depression (following childbirth) and Raymond’s job as an OAP take viewers through an interesting and hilarious 93 minutes of movie experience.
The best parts of the movie by far were played by Adesanya and Ozokwor, as they effortlessly steal every scene they appear in with familiar but memorable one-liners like “Nwanyi Italy,” “Candance,” “Ciao” and “Gracia.”
The teaming of Patience Ozokwor and Ayo Adesanya as the mothers-in-law, in my opinion, is a feat of casting genius. Chimamanda is perfect as a counter to Candance’s exaggerated socialite behaviour as she delivers the perfect comebacks and refuses to be intimidated by Candance.
One of the best moments is when Ozokwor talks to her son about respecting and being there for his wife after he gets home at a very late hour, and when Adesanya and her daughter finally ‘truly bond.’ Their honest conversations pay homage to mothers who have gone through postpartum, and husbands who have to be patient with their wives.
Now to the my favourite part of writing reviews, the goofs…(lol)
*In the first act the casts were trying so hard to be expository and they instead suffered from intense overacting or overreacting (as the case may be), especially with Omowunmi Dada in an intensely dramatic labour room scene.
*There are times Dada is seen crying without tears. Now as a viewer I began to wonder if the director decided to keep things light and avoid a certain intensity that doesn’t come with comedy movies, or if she is simply being dramatic and in need of attention, or if the ‘apple truly doesn’t fall far from the tree’ (with respect to her mum, lol).
*The scene where Ozokwor and her son have an emotional conversation happens to be one of my best, however, it came with a flaw. The scene had an Indoor night shot with sunlight reflecting from the window – while it was night as the characters made us believe, it was broad day light outside.
Written by Kemi Adesoye and directed by Kunle Afolayan, “Omugwo” is extremely familiar, yet, the movie is so much fun to watch.
Despite its forgivable flaws, “Omugwo” delivers on its promise to be a comedy movie without trying too hard.
Being a malevolent or intolerant critic, I would give “Omugwo” a 7 on a scale of 10. So you might wanna create time to go see the movie.
Watch the trailer below: