Popular comedian, Woli Arole moved away from comedy skits into comedy film with a production budget of roughly N20m. Arole quotes The Call as a dream project, one he had conceived from his early days making low-budget comedy sketches.
BY IKENNA OBIOHA
The comedy genre currently thrives in the Nigerian cinema culture and this trend evidently is not fading away anytime soon. The reason is not far-fetched. Majority of comedy movies that go to cinemas thrive better than those in other genres. Recruiting the comic skills of popular actors as Segun Arinze and Afeez Oyetoro in most sets it on the right track to gain traction with tickets sales, especially for its opening week. However its line-up of relatively new faces might be a deal breaker for most movie goers who tie popularity with quality of work.
The movie plot chronicles the tale of a never-do-well Arole and his group of like-minded friends on their quest for wealth, but Arole inadvertently discovers his gift of clairvoyance. The plot follows a cliché pattern but this doesn’t take away the comic flavour offered through witty lines and dramatic portrayals. Its reference to modern day pop culture makes it a bit underwhelming, and uncalled-for other cases. While comedy isn’t as critically appraised for various elements love, anger or pathos as the drama genre, The Call smartly gains point with its desperate attempt to turn every conversation into an event to evokes laughter from the audience.
The aerial shots of the city affords Ibadan proper representation, showing the disparity between different social classes through exploring the city’s maps sketched by uncompleted bungalows, hilly land forms and its everyday people going about their lives. This single factor affords a relatable, laid back experience to its viewers. Director Abinibi’s input in this area helps blur out some of the excesses that comes with flawed characterisation.
For a first film, it is not bad movie, and this shows in its acceptance by major cinemas. Conversely, it isn’t breathtaking in its projection of characters or plot relay. Asides Afeez Oyetoro, Segun Arinze and Kelvin Ikeduba, the other members of the cast projected various levels of naivety playing their roles. But as an entire piece,what it lacks for in individual strengths it makes up for in collective synergism of its acts. Taking into consideration the various flaws and highpoints, a level of balance is observed.
The Call isn’t in the class of comedy films like The Wedding Party –at least in terms of budget strength– hence its less glamorous outlook. Though it might not tickle the fancy of just about anyone, but for the crowd it has managed to attract, it serves well.
The Call is a mix of different styles in terms of language use. Its seamless switch between English, Pidgin-English and Yoruba vernacular is a thorough experience. A switch from one to the other doesn’t leave the audience confused about what the plot is evolving into, instead, it presents it as a venture to sell the culture to them.
Judging from the crowd’s reactions, there was plenty to engage them with but sadly, the story plot doesn’t count as one of those factors. Majorly, the comic offerings did elicit thunderous laughter and silly impressions that mimic the actors at several points; however, the trajectory of plot sequences wasn’t one to keep them watching with bated breath.
With the many factors that plagues every debut production, Arole did leave a mark with his debut effort, although, not exactly groundbreaking to garner acclaim; he is off to a good start with his movie career as an actor, and as a produce
Watch the trailer HERE