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REVIEW

Title: All’s Fair in Love Director: Deyemi Okanlawon Year: 2024 Running time: 2h The love triangle is one of the most common elements in romance-themed…

Title: All’s Fair in Love
Director: Deyemi Okanlawon
Year: 2024
Running time: 2h

The love triangle is one of the most common elements in romance-themed films. In Nollywood, we have seen this in many forms, whether it’s two men fighting for the attention of a lady, a man stringing two women along, or a lady caught between choosing her struggling lover and a rich man. 

In All’s Fair in Love, a romantic film with a tinge of crime, dashing Mbali Khumalo (played by South African act Buhle Samuels) is at the centre of Demi’s (Deyemi Okanlawon in his producing debut) and Kanla’s (Timini Egbuson) attention as she cunningly wraps the business partners around her fingers. Despite the early potential for an exciting story, All’s Fair in Love results in a repetition of tropes we have seen so many times, with no sense of freshness.

Demi and Kanla, childhood friends, are ambitious entrepreneurs aiming for a global expansion of their fashion firm, which requires external investment. Demi declines his father’s offer of support due to an already strained relationship. Instead, they hire an executive consultant to find a suitable external investor. Mbali, whom both friends had met before the interview, is the best candidate for the job.

They quickly become infatuated with her and are drawn to her irresistibly. But Mbali is not who she seems. She is part of a money-laundering cartel that lures unsuspecting business owners into a life of crime. Demi and Kanla face both emotional and physical peril.

Plots like this face an uphill task in exciting the audience because of how tropey the theme is; it has been seen countless times. The danger of the film being blase is all but too real, and innovative elements have to be added to give the plot a sense of originality and uniqueness. All’s Fair In Love does not do anything special to separate it from the many similar-themed movies. A twist that could have saved the film doesn’t land well either because Mbali reveals her intentions to us prematurely, rendering the conflict impotent and the story all too predictable.

Additionally, the plot suffers from a  lack of depth, as it doesn’t delve deep enough into the details of the plot to make them solid. It is made clear to us early enough that Demi and Kanla are playboys, but we see no further exploration of their characters’ distinctiveness. These are details that would have helped to show proper emotional arcs in their relationships with Mbali. This translates on screen as a lack of chemistry among our leads that the several montages can not fix. 

Also, the film doesn’t portray any concrete motivation for Mbali to have affairs with any of the men since it does not have any bearing on her plans for their company. She got the job by being the best candidate, and the friends would have taken decisions based on her professional advice regardless. Thus, the love triangle becomes a conflict with no real implications for the plot (except for the season of love, originally released around Valentine’s). Consequently, this leaves us with no emotional arcs.

A plot containing a love triangle with a side of crime should make for nothing less than excitement that puts the audience on the edge with lively action, thrills, and suspense as the story unfolds. However, the slow pacing steals all the thrill and intensity, unnecessarily extending the runtime to 2 hours. This is coupled with a score more fitting for a sombre drama or horror film, as it gives a sense of the ominous throughout the film.

Despite its failings in story and character development, All’s Fair In Love offers viewers an aesthetically pleasing flick. The film maxes out on the aesthetics, using elaborate costume designs that depict the characters accurately, and cinematography that delivers good frames and sets up the action in a pleasing manner. Apart from that, the film gives nothing new; there’s no suspense, no twist to celebrate, and no character to root for.

 

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