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Sugar Rush is a mixed bag of hits and misses

The plot of Sugar Rush revolves around the misadventures of three sisters. L-R: Bisola Aiyeola plays Sola, Bimbo Ademoye plays Bola, and Adesua Etomi Wellignton plays Susan [Instagram/Jade Osiberu]

It is Jadesola Osiberu’s sophomore film after the critically acclaimed Isoken (2017) which earned her a Best Director award at the 2018 Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards (AMVCA).

Apart from this, Sugar Rush has a pretty decent lineup, one that's guaranteed to pull the crowd to any cinema with the promise of electric performances.

There's Nollywood’s favourite couple, Adesua Etomi-Wellington and Bankole Wellington; former Big Brother stars, Bisola Aiyeola and Tobi Bakre; and the likes of Jide Kosoko, Omoni Oboli and Mawuli Gavor.

The movie's trailer also did it a lot of favours, with fun, colourful snippets expertly cut to whet the appetite. So, it is not at all surprising that it opened to over N40 million in its first weekend.

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Directed by Kayode Kasum, Sugar Rush tells the story of the Sugar Sisters, Sola (Bisola Aiyeola), Susan (Adesua Etomi-Wellington) and Bola (Bimbo Ademoye).

After the sisters accidentally stumble upon a whopping $800,000 in cash and decide to keep it, the government’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the supposed owners of the money come for them, leading to the loss of the money to a different party in a series of whimsical events.

To save themselves, and get back their abducted mother who’s being used as a bargaining chip, they team up with two bumbling law enforcement agents to pull off a heist/take down an affluent but dangerous man with supernatural powers. The movie’s direction is all mixed up in the final act so it’s hard to keep track of what the point of it all is.

The first thing you realise when you go in to see Sugar Rush is that there is some sort of comedy everywhere in the film; it's either they’re bringing stuff you’ll typically see in an Instagram skit, or punchlines you’ve made in real life. It’s always some brand of funny that's sometimes a problem for the movie.

When everything is written to have some sort of comic relief, it becomes a hit and miss situation and that is what Sugar Rush feels like for most of its run-time. This may have been saved by a better story, but even that feels like it lacks the most basic attention, leaving the audience with head-scratching inconsistencies and gaping plot holes.

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The casting for the film is pretty decent, save for Banky W who is supposed to be Anikulapo, a feared villain who shows up with a coloured moustache that just looks terrible, but still not enough to distract from an absolutely uninspiring performance.

Aiyeola brings that charm that makes her a loving character and Makinwa, who plays a scheming Gina, has never been better used in a Nigerian movie. Also worthy of mention is Ademoye who bodies her role as the youngest Sugar, and her mannerisms are nothing but hilarious throughout the movie.

Despite the fact that Sugar Rush tries too hard with the comedy, it also finds the time to take shots at the system that is Nigeria today, one where criminals and enforcers of the law are sometimes in bed together.

Sugar Rush also passes social commentary on the types of people we see in society today from various angles.

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There’s Bola, a faux Instagram celebrity who manages to convince her followers that she is all that and more, despite being a pauper who has no food for dinner.

There’s also Andy (Tobi Bakre), a morally-bankrupt hustler who keeps scamming his girlfriend and easy preys who fall victim to his schemes.

Many of Sugar Rush's characters are reflections of people we are and/or people we see around us, but thorough introspection is buried deep beneath the rubble of all of the comedy on display.

With boundless comic energy, Sugar Rush is undoubtedly exciting, but with what can only be described as a chaotic third act, it felt so much like a letdown especially since it had potential to go to a lot of better, more interesting places.

It may have offered the much-needed comedy that is the gold dust for blockbuster Nollywood movies in recent years, but that’s about it.

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It could have been more.

Written by Franklin Ugobude.

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