TIFF 2016 Review: The Wedding Partyby Wilson Morales
If you have seen your share of ethnic wedding films such as Mira Nair’s Monsoon Wedding (Indian) or Nia Valdolos’ My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and enjoyed them, then you should be pleasantly entertained with Nigerian director Kemi Adetiba’s The Wedding Party, a charming, romantic comedy with a unique international flavor.
Presented as the opening night film for Toronto International Film Festival’s City to City Programme, many of the city’s Nigerian community came out in force to support the first of 8 films from the country that would be showcase. If the rest of the films are as entertaining as this one, then they are in for a treat.
With a cast that includes Banky Wellington, Adesua Etomi, Richard Mofe-Damijo, Iretiola Doyle, Atunyota Akpobome, Sola Sobowale, Somkele Iyamah-Idhalama, Beverly Naya, Emma OhMyGod, Lepacious Bose and Olusola Abiodun Sobowale, this is a well rounded ensemble where Adetiba has placed them in scenes to keep the audience involved and amused.
Dunni Coker (Adesua Etomi) is an art gallery owner getting ready to marry Dozie (singer Banky Wellington, making his film debut), a former playboy who comes from a wealthy family. While his brother and groomsmen discuss their recent bachelor party which Dozie doesn’t remember, Dunni is nervously trying to plan the perfect wedding without too much interference from her parents (Atunyota Akpobome and Sola Sobowale). Dunni’s mother Tunuade wants the very best for her only daughter even if Dunni doesn’t want the extravaganza.
Meanwhile, Dozie’s mom Obianuju Onwuka (Iretiola Doyle) believes her son could have found someone more suitable, and more worthy of her their family fortune, while his dad Felix (Richard Mofe-Damijo) is just trying have his son go through the process without any emotional drama. Little does he know that Dozie’s ex-girlfriend is still in the picture with her own agenda.
When both families are from different backgrounds, clashes are bound to happen and when the wedding day arrives, everything from the wedding dress, the invited (and not-invited) guests, the choice of food, who walks first, and an overworked wedding planner begin to take a toll on not just the bride and groom, but the parents of both.
While this is a Nigerian film filled with its rich culture (food, music, dresses), there’s plenty of universal themes and scenes we’s seen in other wedding films, so there’s nothing new being presented to the screen. But from the writing, and execution, the film offers its share of laugh-out-loud moments and much of it comes from the veteran actress Sola Sobowale, who steals every one of her scenes without being over-the-top. Bank W is a well known singer and rapper but can he act? Yes! He’s shown that he can have another career should he choose to make that transition. Other cast members who stood out where Iretiola Doyle and Richard Mofe-Damijo as Dozie’s parents and Zainab Balogun as the wedding planner.
In watching this film, one will leave knowing what they came to see: a fun romantic comedy where families bicker, a love is question, and hopefully a new union is created. From the beginning to end, The Wedding Party is an entertaining and funny movie that you should not miss.