Producer: Willis Ikedum and Chioma Willis Ikedum
Director: Willis Ikedum
Cast: Bayray Mcnwizu, Alex Ekubo, Munachi Abi and Segun Arinze
Trends in Nollywood sometimes involve the re-enactment of similar stories with different actors. This is quite problematic for an industry with a range of diverse and unexplored stories waiting to be told.
Last year, Ramsey Nouah and Omoni Oboli featured in “My Wife and I”, it is a body swap comedy that has inspired other films of its kind. “Disguise”, another body swap comedy is currently showing at the cinemas. Now, “Switch” a third of the body swap type narrative has found home on iRoko TV.
Anyone that looks through the synopsis of “Switch” before making a decision on if to watch or not, might pass on the film. If you decide to see it, “Switch” turns out more enjoyable than both “My Wife and I” and “Disguise”.
In “Switch”, Ihuoma (Bayray Mcnwizu) is married to Leo (Alex Ekubo, in an oppressive marriage devoid of support. Ihuoma is a housewife that tries to make the marriage work and is desperate to satisfy her husband’s needs. Leo is an unsupportive husband and there is no level of effort that will leave him impressed. Leo is not only unpleasant to his wife, he is also a difficult colleague at the workplace.
Leo is irritated by his home and feels responsible for keeping the home together with his money. Like every unsupportive husband, he does not think his wife’s decision to be a stay at home mom is helpful to their lives.
Ihuoma tolerates all of his excesses until it frustrates her to almost knocking off an older woman on the street. The deed turns out a blessing. In a regular Tales by Moonlight style and in a pure throwback to how old Nollywood told stories of the suffering wife; the old woman had supernatural powers that transformed Ihuoma’s marriage. This power comes from a ring that grants Ihuoma a wish that strengthens the bond of Leo and Ihuoma, after a body switch.
Willis, who directs “Switch” takes on feminist issues with his narrative. Ihuoma as a housewife is intelligent enough to chase and have a successful career but she chooses the home. Disrespect comes from her choice and to change that, Willis mixes fantasy and a feminist narrative, to admonish his viewers and to entertain them. For the better part of his story, the respect of the housewife is his concern. If she chooses to go to work or she chooses the home, respect is necessary for women and for marriages to succeed.
“Switch” comes with its inconsistencies in continuity. For example, what pairing an Alex Ekubo to a Bayray Mcnwizu does to the story was crucial in its first 20 minutes.
Alex Ekubo makes the first appearance as Leo. Casting him as an authoritative, intelligent and quite an oppressive husband will get any viewer bothered in the first few minutes of the film. Alex is quite rigid and the manner he delivers his lines is rehearsed. This is because being in this type of role is not what Alex is comfortable doing and so he struggles with it.
However, the director’s choice only speaks wisdom when the switch happens and Alex comfortably settles into a feminine role. When this happens, the casting choice makes a lot of sense. Humour dominates the narrative with Alex in the body of Ihuoma. This small bit makes “Switch” humorous and elevates the story.
Bayray Mcwizu keeps it layered. She is the fit to the over performance that Alex Ekubo gives through the early moments of the film. When she has to be a frustrated housewife, she is totally endearing and when she transforms into a man, she owns it!