YEAR OF RELEASE: 2016
DIRECTOR: Aniedi Anwah.
CAST: Bovi, Ini Dima-Okojie, Shaffy Bello, Toni “Tones” Adefuye, Amanda Ebeye, Thelma Ezeamaka, Enajite Dede, Omoni Oboli
Comedian Bovi Ugbomah follows in the footsteps of senior colleague AY Makun by taking his goodwill and endorsement deal credibility and transferring these to the big screen, a medium that rewards just as likely as it punishes.
Having cut his teeth on the small screen with the sitcom Extended Family, which he starred in, co-wrote and produced, Bovi attempts these duties all over again, this time on film.
The city of Lagos is replete with stories of couples who overreach in their dash to climb the social ladder. This hunger to hit it big at all costs has been responsible for many unlikely pairings of couples united only in their quest to take advantage of the other and quiet resolve to stay together until they find somebody worthier.
It’s Her Day as produced by Bovi is a contemporary romantic comedy that sends up popular culture in ways that are familiar and relatable but zingy enough to produce genuine laughs. It is the story of Victor (Bovi) who is suffering from the twin demons of inferiority complex and I-just-got-back syndrome. To massage his ego and improve his self-esteem issues, he proposes to a silver spoon terror(Ini Dima-Okojie) whose outsize tastes far exceed his pay grade. Victor promises to foot the bill, right down to the littlest glass of overpriced drinking water even when he and his bride to be share zero chemistry.
Victor’s fiancée hails from one of those ‘old money’ families with matriarchs who look and speak like Shaffy Bello. They boast of last names like Hernandez, gaze upon their soon to be in-law and his friend with unshrouded disdain and claim to be so steeped in wealth, they can get away with anything.
But along the generations, most of that famed wealth must have failed to trickle down. Or how else do you explain the family’s eagerness to stick an obviously overwhelmed Victor with every single expense of the huge society wedding they have all planned out?
In reality, no matter how wealthy the families involved claim to be, weddings are usually a cooperative affair between both families. But don’t spend your time scrutinizing this particular plot detail as It’s Her Day really doesn’t need to make all the sense in the world to achieve its comic intentions. Comic gold is mined from the relationships and interactions between Victor’s family and his potential in-laws.
Despite the conspicuous presence of Diamond Bank, It’s Her Day looks and feels like a low-budget effort. The production design is basic at best and downright tacky on the rare occasion. Sound issues keep coming up and the screenplay (by Bovi) tends to be hit and miss. The camera work is cloying on occasion and the characters tend to appear clustered in.
But Bovi’s ace is the hiring of famed director, Mildred Okwo who oversees the casting process. It’s Her Day works mostly because of the terrific cast. One could wail about Shaffy Bello being cast in another soigne matriarch role but if she does it so well, why complain?
Bovi as the leading man carries the film with a certain level of confidence and charm; with his scruffy hair and awkward gait, he wears the aura of the boy next door. This works in his film’s favour as he is utterly believable as the local kid made good who wants to marry up to make a statement.
Victor’s chemistry with his ride or die friends led by funny man Greg Ojefua is one of the subtle beauties of the film and the casting team deserves props for pulling the gang together. The Hernandez clan are also well cast. Dima-Okojie nails the spoilt rich brat. Her sisters, led by sometime singer and occasional photographer Toni Tones are surprisingly good and their wicked bickering among themselves feel comfortable and not forced. Omoni Oboli as an old flame of Victor’s does an okay job with the troublesome sub-plot she is assigned. Not all the actors excel though. Najita Dede is miscast as Victor’s dominating aunt and finds herself overwhelmed with the demands of the role.
The laughs do not come fast and hard; maybe a chuckle here and there but the cast and crew, directed by Aniedi Anwah, acquit themselves quite credibly. A bigger budget may have guaranteed a neater film but at the scale Bovi and crew are working on, they do okay.