The accurate number of films the studio has in its catalog is certainly not in question. What is in doubt is the studios' ability create masterpieces out of our classics. It has become herculean picking from the onslaught of remakes, reboots and sequels of films that should honestly, have been left to rest in power, archived in the museums of our memories.
Glamour Girls: Play Studios needs to RESPECTFULLY hands-off classics [Review]
It is the year 2022 and Charles Okpaleke’s Play Network Studios has debuted its fourth, maybe fifth film.
Play's latest reboot is of 1994 classic Glamour Girls. The movie took the direct-to-streaming route, premiering on Netflix on June 24, unsurprisingly to a unanimous call for the heads of its cast and crew.
Starring Sharon Ooja as Emma and Nse Ikpe-Etim as Donna (supposing they are the movie’s protagonists), the reboot narrates a long and tiresome diegesis of high-end prostitutes doing what prostitutes do.
At the helm of the production is Bunmi Ajakaiye (Smart Money Woman) with Abimbola Craig (Skinny Girl In Transit) as Producer. I dare say that the duo, before Glamour Girls, had what it took to sell me Hollywood’s Sunset Boulevard from a suburb on Lagos mainland.
With a duo that good, I expected a worthy female-led film that spoke to girl power in spite of its obvious plot. Perhaps, they tried to push for it with Donna’s character but even that crumbled after hours of carrying her fellow performers.
Glamour Girls opens with Emma (Ooja) stripping. Soon after, she is accosted by a bodyguard for stealing a ring belonging to his boss.
Seeing as the plot begins with Emma, it is easy to assume that this is her story. Well that’s until Donna is introduced, not as a villain and too domineering to not be the center of attention.
Even with Donna’s larger than life character, she is not deemed worthy enough for a 360 view. The audience is let in very sparingly, offering a perception of a character you truly want to love but can’t say you know well enough.
There is so much going on in the story and a lot less happening with character development so much that the first act is inevitably a showcase of shiny dresses, gorgeous wigs, outlandish makeup and expensive buttocks.
One might argue that the original film did not exactly have a principal character and that it had its fair share of glossiness (as much as the year 1994 could afford). However, true to 90s Nollywood style, the audience had enough on the characters to elicit catharsis.
Elements that damned Glamour Girls have been replicated in all of the Studios productions save for ‘Living in Bondage’ which had way too much artistic influence to fail. It became apparent that the die was cast from the horrible editing choices prioritizing product placement for Okpaleke’s other business ventures over shots that elevated the story to casting a certain look and feel.
After touring no less than three states auditioning for ‘Nneka the Pretty Serpent’ remake in 2020, the studio unveiled television personality Idia Aisien as its leading lady.
Aisien had no prior acting experience and did not know how to speak the first language of the character she played. In multiple interviews after the movie debuted, the newbie admitted to taking acting classes while filming.
We would later discover that Aisien was signed to Play Network’s management arm which explained how she managed to sail through an audition. The obvious strategy is hardly the problem. By all means, cast your talent. Cast them in roles that do not hamper the production.
Then there’s the matter of the sound quality of Glamour Girls. I found myself picking out the ADR flops simply for the fun of it and fiddling with my device volume pads in a frustrating attempt to follow the dialogue. If only the bulk of the film's budget did not go to luxury locations with zero effect on the plot's development.
Recently, Stella Damasus made what we can agree was a valid argument in the defense of Nollywood filmmakers. “No one sets out to make a bad film,” the actress stressed passionately in an Instagram video.
That’s right! So double the benefit of doubt for first-timers, maybe second-timers too. After five productions, it has become imperative to urge Play to let our Classics go!
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