Akpos (Ayo Makun – Ay) wins a prize at an event, which turns out to be a sponsored trip to Atlanta, USA, for 30 days. 30 Days in Atlanta is the story of Akpos’s tour of Atlanta accompanied by his brother, Richard (Ramsey Nouah).
This film’s dialogue and the situations appointed in telling the story are witty, prompting incessant rib-cracking laughter. The producers of the film must be commended for taking the audience with them on Akpos’s voyage. The city of Atlanta is shown in all its beauty. Again, the production value of the film is top-notch what with the involvement of Hollywood (Vivica Fox), Nollywood and Ghanaian actors plus exquisite locations-cum-sets. It is a pleasant surprise to see Richard Mofe-Damijo in a film after a long time.
The mention of Yomi Casual (the label/designer), Lekki Gardens, Cool and Wazobia FM stations including the Agofure Transport Company enhance believability. It is heartwarming that brands are increasingly supporting film-making, thus simultaneously growing the visibility of their products and services.
30 Days in Atlanta has several weaknesses.Richard’s boss (Juliet Ibrahim) didn’t need to offer any explanation before asking the bouncers to let Richard and Akpos in. It is her event and she hired the bouncers. So, the long details are superfluous. Then, Akpos’s rude remarks to the bouncers are awful. Why degrade a person’s genuine means of livelihood just to sound funny?
Even though there is a belated attempt to give the film a story line, the plot of the film is a collection of awkwardly funny events and situations rather than a story that logically unfolds. This delayed storyline is seen in the relationship between the brothers and their girlfriends, Clara and Kim. The consequence of this frantic effort is a film, whose beginning and middle are hollow while a lot of action is packed towards the end. It only takes a patient viewer to wait as long as that. Luckily, there are a lot of amusing events to guarantee such perseverance.
30 Days in Atlanta relies entirely on slapstick humour to convey its story, culminating in a film with a very weak ideology. There is hardly any subtext in the film, which means that one does not leave the cinema, doing some soul searching. It is this lack of an identifiable ideology that almost mars a rare opportunity to commence a meaningful conversation because films and Art, indeed, begin rather than terminate conversations on a people’s worldview.
In the cinemas, this film has outlived The Return of Jenifa and Ije, two of Nollywood’s highest grossing films by staying more than 12 weeks in the box office. By the time it exits the box office, it will have made well over two hundred million naira (N200,000,000.00), which is quite close to what the five highest grossing Hollywood films have also made in Nigerian cinemas. So, 30 Days in Atlanta would have been a good avenue to address, albeit subtly, some of our challenges and aspirations as a people.
Since every film is ideological, film-makers are presented a chance to confront, without haranguing, societal and developmental issues. ‘Art for Art’s sake’, someone says, ‘is a luxury the developing world cannot afford’. The watchword has to be ‘Art for the sake of development’.