Moduroti Bankole Smith (Weruche Opia), an event planner in her twenties is bent on finding true love; having witnessed, all through her life, the very cordial relationship between her parents – Tunde Bankole Smith (Keppy Ekpenyong Bassey) and Mrs. Bankole Smith (Shaffy Bello). She is utterly disappointed by the sort of young men she meets until she falls in love with Dare Laguda (O. C. Ukeje), a school mate, family friend and former boyfriend.
Diche Enunwa, Temitope Bolade and Seyi Babatope, the screenwriters, are extolled for telling a compelling tale with three-dimensional characters, polished dialogue plus great twists and turns. This is another confirmation that in screenwriting, in particular, and film-making, in general, too many cooks do not spoil the broth when synergy is deployed appropriately.
Mo (Weuche Opia), Tseju (Oreka Godis), Tobe (Gideon Okeke) Royal Jen/Jennifer (Beverly Naya) and Dare (O. C. Ukeje) portray their characters credibly. Tobe’s passiveness is amusing, given that the audience is used to a very assertive Gideon Okeke. Royal Jen (Beverly Naya) is typical of people who look down their noses on others. In one breath, she says she needs ‘Mo, the illustrious, calculated event planner’ to plan her wedding and in another, she is asking Mo if she is capable. How can one person be celebrated and incapable at the same time?
One is disappointed that Mo accepts to date Dare, a presumptuous fellow, who calls her an ‘errand girl at parties’. In fact, one had expected her to put him in his place and walk away without looking back. How does anyone denigrate 21st century Event Planning, a multimillion-dollar enterprise; which people abandon other lucrative careers to embrace? Even if Event Planning is a humble calling, the braggart had no right to belittle the lady. No one should ever accept the demeaning of a legitimate profession from which he or she earns a living. After all, the person deriding you is very likely not willing to render any sort of assistance. Needless to say, no true friend or lover can do that, an early sign that Mo ignores.
Shaffy Bello is exceptional as Mrs. Bankole Smith: the rich texture of her voice is captivating and her gestures, graceful. In fact, she is a brilliant thespian, who not only deserves an award for her performance in When Love Happens, but certainly merits many more roles in films and TV productions. Then, there is an unmistakable resemblance between Mo and her mum – good casting.
The tension in the relationships between Tseju, Tobe and Mo helps the development of their characters as well as the plot of the story. A happy-clappy relationship between lead, supporting and mirror characters is a flaw, which often results in uninteresting screenplays and films. Once again, the director and the screenwriters deserve accolades for giving the supporting characters their own stories rather than making them to follow the lead characters all over town as if they (the supports) are chaperons. In many Nollywood films, we see the supporting actors aiding the lead actors in a way that implies that the primary reason they are in the world is to serve as attendants. Thankfully, in this film, the supporting acts have lives of their own, thereby eliciting empathy from the audience as well.
There were a few errors in When Love Happens. For instance, the character played by Desmond is asked: ‘Can’t you keep your trousers zipped? Must you go after everything with a skirt?’ (… in a skirt; in is the correct preposition). Desmond’s character says, ‘… what next step she is going to do.’ (take should have been the correct verb). Fortunately, these errors are not enough to rob the film of its numerous merits.
When Love Happens is a first-rate romantic comedy, one that any filmmaker, who wants to etch his movie on the audience’s mind, needs to carefully study. No one saw the ultimate surprise in the tale until the end; enchanting.The film subtly reminds young ladies that there are men, who possess the reasonable qualities they desire though such men also have their own shortcomings. Therefore, no lady should settle for a lout, but look inward because what one may be seeking on the rooftop may actually be at one’s doorstep.