REVIEW: MENTALLY – by Chinwe Ononuju
I was skeptical about watching this movie. Something from the village was warning me that this would be a waste of my time. But did I heed despite the red flags? No.The first red flag was the trailer! (Watch Trailer of Mentally HERE). A movie trailer is supposed to be a microcosm of the movie itself, a window into the largesse of the motion picture.
A trailer drops hints, lays the foundation, and just generally gives the viewer an idea of what he is to expect when he sees the film. The trailer for Mentally did no such thing! The entire 2-and-a-half-minute trailer may just as well have been one of Frank Donga’s skits – and not a particularly funny one. There was no story in the trailer, nothing to be gleaned from it, except to watch the characters performing with the kind of forced theatrics that has started to lose its comedic appeal for Nigerian moviegoers. The only thing the trailer seemed to do a good job of was in cramming itself full of the names of all the characters in the movie, from those who are presumably the main characters to the ones who are so obviously waka pass. Even the actor playing the fleeting role of the conductor was introduced in the trailer. That, if nothing else, should have hinted heavily at the fact that the movie was clearly going to lack in any real substance. If I’d had any sense, after seeing the trailer, I wouldn’t have gone on to see the film.
The second red flag was the name of the production company – ROCK BOTTOM FLIX! Really! The movie basically became doomed right from production, it would seem, seeing as I hit rock bottom by the time the credits started rolling at the end. Right there, at my rock bottom, I mourned the time I lost watching this movie, time I’d never get back. The only comfort I derived was that the movie had been a short one of about 50 minutes. However, I was swayed into going to see the film because I follow Frank Donga on Instagram and I enjoy his skits every now and then. I told myself that no matter how bad the film may get, he would surely bring his comedic A-game and I’d remember the film for his hilarity. Unfortunately, as I left the cinema, I was ready to go over to the balcony to apply for suicide.
The movie centers on the life of Akin (Frank Donga) who, despite his mother’s warnings, decides to relocate to Lagos where Emeka, his former schoolmate, promised him enormous opportunities through which he can have a better source of livelihood. As a JJC, on his first day alone, within the first few hours of his arrival, he gets the misfortune of being treated to the ‘Lagos experience’, which makes him begin to wonder if his decision to relocate to Lagos was a good one. The storyline is good enough and was aimed at getting viewers to roll on the floor – figuratively of course – with laughter. But with James Abinibi at the directorial helm, the finished product was as flat badly-made akamu. The performances in the film ranged from eye-roll-worthy to just plain distasteful. The wardrobe was appropriate but failed at continuity. And the comedy was forced and barely capable of drawing laughter.
The movie features Frank Donga, Toyin Abraham, Kunle Afod, Jude Chukwuka, Yaw, Erick Didie, Sunkanmi Omobolanle, Woli Arole, Soma Anyama, Chris Okagbue, Rotimi Salami, Etinosa Mudia, Adekunle Gold, Senator, Wale Waves, Koloman Prosper and Chima Raphael. (If you check out the trailer, you’ll find it chock-full with all these names afore-listed. Everybody had to get a mention!) The only credit I will give Mentally is that it was able to depict aptly the experience of the Lagos hustle. In as much as I giggled a few times, I’d rate this move 1/10! It does not belong to the cinema. It shouldn’t even be put on DVD. I’m however certain it will do well on radio.
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