Your Excellency: Funke Akindele and Mo Abudu want your Christmas Money

It is December, by which I mean it is time for EbonyLife Films to show up with a film designed to take all of your money.

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The formular is one that has been perfected over the past few years: add celebrity to colour and comedy, then watch the money roll in. Because it’s a formular, the film’s success has nothing to do with any one factor besides the production house.

The stars change, the screenwriters change, the directors change and yet nothing really changes. Biyi Bandele did Fifty (2015). Kemi Adetiba helmed the first Wedding Party movie (2016), Niyi Akinmolayan directed the second one, Chief Daddy (2018) returned Akinmolayan to the director’s chair. Ishaya Bako directed Royal Hibiscus Hotel (2018). In December 2019, the director is Funke Akindele-Bello and the movie is titled Your Excellency. (The sole exception to the formular is the unreleased Oloture.)

It is highly conceivable that EbonyLife head honcho Mo Abudu would someday take her place in the director’s chair.

In any case, the new film’s title refers to a character’s aspiration and not necessarily the film’s quality. In fact, I am not certain what excellence in these EbonyLife holiday movies is supposed to look like. And yet, there are things to like about a film that knows what purpose it serves, a film that only intends to make money while its audience passes the time.

As mandated by the Ebony Life starter-pack, the story has a rich fellow in the centre. An enjoyably bubbly Akin Lewis plays Olalekan Ajadi, a role he was born and shaped for. Ajadi is an incredibly rich businessman with a love for Donald Trump and a penchant for contesting elections. There is a photo of the President of the United States on his wall and we see him attempt the Trump pout a few times. He lives with his second wife Kemi (Funke Akindele) having separated from his first wife Laide (Shaffy Bello) due to the latter’s frustration with his unambitious and unsuccessful presidential runs. Apparently, he’s contested and lost three times over eight years.

That is about to change as a party with political success but having money problems invites him aboard. The party leaders have their agenda but the seduction of an actual party structure and the proximity to success is too much for Ajadi to resist…

Nigeria’s most acclaimed writer-reviewer. Business: www.criticsandbylines.com.

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