Movie Review: Dinner Is A One-Time Meal.
There’s one huge question that haunts me – haunts almost every guy I know;
What do you do if you find out you had a one-night stand with the girl your man is about to marry? Tell him? Mind your business?
What happens if he somehow finds out?
What if the shoe was on the other foot? Would you want to know if your man has slept with the girl you’re about to marry? Does it matter if it happened before you started dating her?
That is the premise the Dinner hopes to thrive on for eighty minutes or thereabouts of screen time. And it works – for the most part.
Dinner tells the story of a young man; Mike Okafor who is headed to Lagos from Abuja for a dinner with his best friend, Ade George Junior, said best friend’s fiancée, Lola Coker and best friend’s office buddy – a painfully obvious ‘bad guy’ – Richard Boyo. Mike decides to take his girlfriend Diane along – probably so he could use the opportunity to propose to her – and things go awry. Turns out that the about-to-be-groom and his office buddy had each had one night stands with Diane, and that Richard had slept with some other people.
The actors are all in top form and therefore manage to present the viewer with convincingly three-dimensional characters, in spite of the bulk of the movie happening over the course of one night. Okey Uzoeshi is the tightly-wound Mike who is clueless to the most obvious things going on underneath his nose. Kehinde Bankole isn’t so much the eye-candy she usually is – but knees remain just as distracting. Adeyemi Okanlawon sizzles as the glib, suave and ‘evil’ Richard – though I honestly cannot wait for the day Nollywood moves past the hard drinking, hard smoking ‘bad guy’. RMD and Ireti Doyle are typecast – once again, as the concerned father and mother. Hmm.
Structurally, the movie is tightly woven – except for a completely irrelevant opening scene in which Mike proposes to his then-girlfriend at a party and she turns him down flat. If that had any significance, shouldn’t it be that Mike should learn to keep things like proposals private? But that is a man who never learns. The dialogue could have been done better – way better. Too many times, the characters repeated words and phrases; phrases that may look good on paper but hardly roll off the tongue. In a couple of scenes I found myself thinking; ‘Nobody talks like that!’
Something else that bothers me about a number of Nigerian movies is the way the characters are named. Mike Okafor. Adetunde George Junior. Richard Boyo. Diane Bassey. Those names sound manufactured; like they have a name checklist for the ‘young and successful’. What happened to names like Dozie or Wale or Segun or Amarachi or …?
Another pointless subplot is the part where the groom-to-be, Adetunde has slept with his buddy Mike’s girl. They didn’t talk about it – when it happened, where or why it did – is not told. Was it before he became engaged or after?
You cannot help but sympathize with the female leads, Diane and Lola played by Kiera Hewatch and Kehinde Bankole respectively. They are the usual women caught in the middle of three men, and it gets really ugly – especially Lola, who is supposedly strong for Diane – only to have her own dirty linen aired publicly by the notorious –
As has become standard with the ‘new’ Nollywood’, the presence of the movie-ubiquitous Lekki Bridge is here too. Nice camera work though – and production is crisp and tight. It also well-paced, but for a somewhat tepid beginning, and then the jabs start – and keep coming.
All in all, Dinner is a meal to be consumed once – but, what a meal.
PS: Can Nigerian movie directors please provide online resources for their movies – posters, cast, DOP and so on?