Movie: Meet the in-laws
Director: Akin Akinmolayan
Reviewer: Taiwo Adeniyi
There are several events that precede a wedding ceremony in Nigeria. These events are done with grit and poise in preparation of the wedding day when the aso ebi and several styles of head gear compete. In most cases, the success of the wedding ceremony and ultimately the marriage depend on how all parties involved in the pre-wedding activities played their roles. But if the foundation is destroyed, what can the righteous do as it was the case with Ify (Lilian Esoro) and Dapo (Adeniyi Johnson) in ‘Meet the in-laws.’
- Terrorism financing: Court returns case of 45 suspects to chief judge
- Malami protests as court orders FG to pay Igboho N20bn
A major step to marriage is introducing the family members of the groom and the bride. Coming from the same tribe could pose as a challenge as families look beyond beauty but also history, customs and language or dialect in either accepting or rejecting the proposal regardless of the disposition of the intending couple. There are cases of people rejecting a marriage proposal from the same tribe but different dialects. Among the Yorubas, there are preferences and I remember my grandmother once said she once opposed the marriage of my mum to an Osogbo man despite Kwara State sharing a border with Osun State.
So before Ify and Dapo, in this hilarious one hour 15 minute movie, is a Herculean task for making their parents accept their quest to get married despite their different background and ethnicity.
Ify and Dapo tell a story of how ethnicity determines and influences marriages in Nigeria. Despite the ever evolving civilisation and globalisation, intertribal marriages are still approached with disdain in some families. Most Nigerian parents always have a preferred spouse for their children, especially from children of their friends.
Ify and Dapo’s love was sparked when they met while job hunting. The friendship grew into a love relationship that culminated in a marriage proposal. Though Ify accepted the proposal but her dad (Amaechi Muonagor) preferred Chijioke (Keneth Okolie). Dapo’s mum did not also hide her preference for one of her friend’s daughter (Dayo Amusa) who she already calls ‘my wife’ or the Iyabos and Yetundes whom she said would communicate better in the language her son understands, Yoruba.
As typical of most Nollywood movies and movie plots, despite their reluctance the parents put the joy of their children ahead of theirs and agreed to the meet the in-laws.
But things went from out of the frying pan into the fire for the love birds. The meeting ended in a fiasco due to perceived irreconcilable differences between Dapo’s mum, Ronke and Ify’s father, Ejike.
Brandishing a machete, Ejike forced the in-laws out his house when he could no longer endure the tantrums from Ronke who called him a kidnapper and thief.
Ify and Dapo’s attempts at unravelling and understanding the resentment of their parents did nothing in helping their quest of settling down together.
This is indeed a love story tested by ethnicity and hatred that preceded the births of the love birds. Since all is fair in love and war, Ify and Dapo decided to shape their fate and decide their destiny, a decision with great consequences for their families.
While this is not the first movie addressing challenges of intertribal marriage in Nigeria, the producer ensured the message was passed with some laughter and fun. The movie with fewer casts but with grander proficiency put across the intended message with the cast interpreting their roles perfectly.
The interjections of the Yoruba and Igbo languages added to the fun and fuelled the flawless delivery of the message.
I was actually expecting to see what will happen when Ify visited Dapo’s family after the drama that ensued when Dapo visited Ify’s dad. The producer denied his audience this scene as it would have been another interesting moment, judging by how Ronke (Tina MBA) treated her Igbo business partner.
The location manager must be commended as the choice of houses and décor presented the families as middle class while it also showed the challenge of bad roads and lack of infrastructure bedevilling the country.
The costume was also top notch but for the old school costume during a reference to the past events between Ronke and Ejike. It seems the editor only changed the scene from coloured to black night without due cognizance to props.
Cast: Ejike (Amaechi Muonagor); Chijioke (Keneth Okolie); Ronke (Tina Mba); Dele Odule; Ify (Lilian Esoro); Dapo (Adeniyi Johnson); Dayo Amusa
Blessing Onwukwe (Ify’s mother)