Beneath the surface of Kunle Afolayan's comedy, "Omugwo," lies the reality of post-partum depression and anxiety.
With the movie, Kunle Afolayan who helmed the movie takes a break from his popular whodunit plot and goes for a relatable comedy movie.
As stated above, "Omugwo" is an Africa Magic film with a Kunle Afolayan touch. There is something about it that reminds you of your various Africa Magic movie channels. Also, there is something about it that makes it fit into the cinema.
"Omugwo" is a comedy movie that possesses enough to be perfect in its genre. It has an interesting and relatable plot, a witty script, a beautifully paired cast in Ken Erics as Raymond, Omuwunmi Dada as Omotunde, Patience Ozokwor as Chimamanda and Ayo Adesanya as Candance.
The movie follows Omotunde, a young civil engineer married to Raymond an OAP(Online Radio Personality). The couple welcome their first child together.
Raymond's mother (Chimamanda) and Omotunde's mother (Candance) move in with the couple to perform the popular Igbo tradition called Omugwo (a tradition in Igbo land where a nursing mother and her baby are taken care of by a relative, usually the nursing mother's mom).
Chimamanda is understanding with her maternal instinct fully at work, while Candance is vain and dramatic.
While Chimamanda is excited about the birth of her first grandchild, Candance is horrified at the thought of being called a grandmother.
The rivalry between their mothers, the couple's different cultural backgrounds, Omotunde's Postpartum depression and Raymond's job as an OAP take viewers through an interesting and hilarious one hour plus movie experience.
Though the story occasionally stretches the credibility of some of Adesanya's actions, the wit of the movie as a whole propels you along.
Adesanya and Ozokwor effortlessly steal every scene they appear in with familiar but memorable one-liners like "Nwanyi Italy," "Candance," "Ciao" and "Gracia."
The teaming of Patience Ozokwor and Ayo Adesanya as the mothers-in-law is a feat of casting genius. Chimamanda is perfect as a counter to Candance's exaggerated socialite behaviour as she delivers the perfect comebacks.
"Omugwo" avoids the sappiness and exaggeration that come with most comedy movies in Nigeria. The comedy isn't forced, it comes naturally to the cast.
It's the one-liners, the beautiful use of indigenous languages, the interpretation of characters by the cast that make "Omugwo" funny, even in silence.
Ken Erics and Dada are perfect as a couple. They have fantastic chemistry and they truly compliment each other.
There are times Dada is seen crying without tears. As a viewer, you would be left to decide if it's the director's choice to keep things light and avoid a certain intensity that doesn't come with comedy movies, if she is simply being dramatic and in need of attention or if the 'apple truly doesn't fall far from the tree.'
The best moments come when Ozokwor talks to his son about respecting and being there for his wife after he gets home at a very late hour, and when Adesanya and her daughter finally 'truly bond.'
Their honest conversations pay homage to mothers who have gone through postpartum, and husbands who have to be patient with their wives.
Beneath the surface of "Omugwo," lies the reality of postpartum depression and anxiety. Omotunde represents thousands of mothers who feel overwhelmed, inadequate, unattractive, disconnected and sad after childbirth.
The scene where Ozokwor and her son have an emotional conversation happen to one of the best, however, it came with a flaw. The scene had an Indoor night shot with sunlight reflecting from the window - while it was night as the characters made us believe, it was broad day light outside.
Written by Kemi Adesoye and directed by Kunle Afolayan, "Omugwo" is extremely familiar, yet, the movie is so much fun to watch.
Despite its forgivable flaws, "Omugwo" delivers on its promise to be a comedy movie without trying too hard.