The “Owanbe” sub-genre in Nollywood comedy was triggered in 2016 with the release of the critically acclaimed romantic comedy “The Wedding Party,” directed by Kemi Adetiba. The Wedding Party’s box office success and critical acclaim contributed to an increase in the number of films with the same theme—drama centered on an upcoming party or event. Since then, we’ve had The Wedding Party 2, The Chief Daddy franchise, and many more forgettable dramas.
The latest instalment “Palava”, is directed by Niyi Akinmolayan( director of The Wedding Party 2 and the Chief Daddy Franchise) It’s no coincidence that the renowned director, who has previously directed several films in this genre, was chosen to helm the latest installment, which was also released in December, when those films premiered and thrived. Will the same process still yield the same result this time around? The audience will be the decider of that.
The plot of “Palava” centers on Osa wonda (RMD), a high-life musician who is experiencing a resurgence but whose life and family are upended when a scandal breaks on the eve of his 60th birthday. It stars RMD, Bisola Aiyeola, Iyabo Ojo, Mercy Aigbe, Linda Ejiofor Suleiman, Gideon Okeke, Beverly Naya, Beverly Osu, Jemima Osunde, Omawunmi Megbele and more.
Palava tries to tell an engaging comedy family drama, but its thematic similarities to Chief Daddy both in characters and story inadvertently destroy its efforts. Admittedly, several scenes in Palava are quite funny and engaging, but the bad outweighs the good. Part of the problem, perhaps, is that stories and characters are thrown together, which makes them barely fleshed. The result of this is a forgettable drama with a few funny scenes.
We are told that Osa Wonda is a musician with some scenes to show for it. In the first few scenes, that’s what we are introduced to, but as we may have it, there is not one convincing scene throughout the entire film about Osa being a musician. When he plays the instrument, his hands are barely on the keys, and when he sings, it does not sound remotely like RMD or the voice of a man pushing sixty. His mouth barely moves.
A problematic storyline twist—which the movie does nothing to establish—that ultimately makes no sense is introduced as the movie tries to come to a close. Without the owner’s permission, a woman forces her maid to artificially inseminate her with her boyfriend’s sperm, creating a child; all is settled without raising a fuss.
However, it will be a total disservice not to mention the impressive work of some of the actors, such as Iyabo Ojo, Bisola Aiyeola, RMD, Jemima Osunde, Linda Ejiofor and Omawunmi, who gave their best. Apart from the performances of some of its cast, another good thing going on for Palava is the cinematography, sound, and editing.
It is not that the film is bad; the bigger problem may just be its predictability and familiar terrain; it relies too much on the formulaic arrangement of films of this kind that it does not attempt to be a tad bit different. It may not be as chaotic and nonsensical as Chief Daddy but it’s barely anything different.
The entire effect of the film is that it is laced with a few funny scenes, forgettable characters, and a formulaic story. If you miss this film, you’re not missing anything. If you watch it, you might get a few giggles, but when the morning comes, it’s gone like a chaotic dream with no real purpose.