Blame Funke Akindele for the existence of such dreadful cash grabs masquerading as feature films that come with titles such as Alakada Reloaded.
Since Akindele hit pay dirt with her Jenifa franchise, effectively conquering both big and small screens, every Mercy Aigbe (Gentry?), AY Makun and Eniola Badmus has followed in her well established footsteps.
The formula is simple really. It is a wonder it isn’t being replicated more frequently.
Create a clichéd, instantly lovable, low brow character with endearing flaws, one that wears their ethnic bias proudly but can cross cultures to appeal to every kind of audience. Throw in a few good jokes, lots of bad ones. Plenty cameo appearances from both verified and questionable stars always help, no need to discriminate. Arrange some scenes that do not necessarily have to make sense or flow. Voila! We have a movie.
Toyin Abraham (formerly Aimakhu) made the first Alakada film, a farce about a multi-lie spinning insecure country bumpkin, Yetunde Animashaun back in 2009 and its encouraging returns warranted a remake four years later. Alaka Reloaded is the latest in the franchise and first to pander to a crossover audience.
To help achieve this ignoble ambition, Abraham assembles a supporting cast that unites king Odunlade Adekola with the king of comedy, Ali Baba in minute roles. Both appearances are uncomfortable and as far from royalty as Abraham’s Yetunde character is from the wealth she loves to claim she was born in. No method to Alakada’s madness at all.
Audiences who have been regular at the cinemas the past year would recognise the quartet of Kehinde Bankole, Gabriel Afolayan, Lala Akindoju and Lilian Esoro. Akindoju and Esoro keep their credibility intact but only barely. Afolayan and Bankole do not. It is hard maintaining any dignity while participating in this three joke circus. Helen Paul and Annie Idibia are imported from the Africa Magic wing of Nollywood and their presence only proves why they belong smugly in the B-list. Comedians Nedu and Wole Arole cannot quite transfer their social media gags to the big screen and fall flat immediately.
As the chronic hustler, Yetunde Animashaun, Toyin Abraham gives it her all. Her talent isn’t AMAA winning material but her hard work does not go unnoticed. Her timing is decent and never has an actress been more willing to shed dignity aside for a few laughs since well… Funke Akindele.
Because Alakada Reloaded is her own hustle, Abraham must take responsibility for the general shoddiness that afflicts the film from first cut. There is no screenplay so to speak, things just happen randomly with no thought to continuity or sense. The editing is non-existent and there is nothing to prove that Abraham hired an editor, or a screenwriter for that matter. Everyone is just winging it as they go in a tragic race to the bottom.
This is all par for the course for films of this nature of course and no one is really expecting anything heavy. Except maybe that the film be funny. Alakada Reloaded doesn’t even manage that. How does one forgive that? The jokes are obvious from a mile away and when they land, they barely elicit a resigned smirk. Once in a while, a laugh out loud moment will occur but for the most part, what is on display is merely cringe worthy. With its desperate shortage of laughs, Alakada Reloaded makes A Trip to Jamaica seem like Coming to America.
At the end of the day, reviews like this will do nothing to dent Alakada Reloaded’s popularity. Three movies in, the franchise appears to have taken and its audience will locate it anyway. Damn whatever some snotty critic thinks.
Funke Akindele, look what you have wrought.