by thepingofpong

A Reel Waste


A few of us had hoped that with the fascination Nollywood now has with cinemas, filmmaking in the country will get better.

The now showing, Married But Living Single, is reason to believe that our hopes have been dashed. After the artistic duds that have been Two Brides and a Baby and Maami, the Nollywood rollercoaster has hit a fresh low- at the very least, Two Brides was watchable till just before its last sequence, while the latter film had few scenes of quality. With, the film under review, it is plausible that a viewer’s time is taken up by violent spasms of cringes brought on by the abject entity on display.

Any one of the aspects of the film is cringeworthy- the picture, the ‘words on marble’ script (apparently it is based on a ‘motivational’ book), the bad acting, the clueless soundtrack.

Married But Living Single is the story of Kate, played by a shocked-to-not-be-acting-Jenifa Funke Akindele, a female advertising employee who gives her all to her company at the detriment of her family. She comes home late, stays up working into the night and hasn’t taken a leave in two years- in short she is the consummate pawn in the age of capitalism. Except she is female and that makes all the difference, especially in a film like this with an African Male Manifesto. Her husband (an idle Benjamin Johnson who is becoming a serial underwhelming actor) frowns but loves her too much- the script tells us, there is no chemistry anywhere on display- to be anything but a whiner. (Yes, you guessed it: he is married but living single.) That is, until in Nicholas Sparks style, he is diagnosed with cancer and his wife refuses to accompany him to India for the operation. Not buying it? Join the queue.

To justify the running time of nearly 120 minutes, there are subplots that are needless diversions. There is some corporate espionage and in the worst sequence of a film with several, there is a glaring anti-battery message; apparently a man beating his wife at the slightest provocation is too subtle, so a character says, “The government must put a stop to battery! The society cannot go on like this!” and when the battered wife dies, another ‘gem’ of dialogue is uttered, “I hope all the wife beaters will learn a lesson from this.”

Help! I thought this was cinema- I didn’t realize we were going to picket government offices.

Sadly, even the regularly reliable Funke Akindele, as Kate, cannot save this accident of a film, stripped of the showiness and aggression of her alter ego, Suliat, and laden with extra-long, uber artificial eyelashes, along with others with nothing to lose, she calmly sinks with the pseudo-sophisticated preachy script.

The newfangled fad of placing products on the screen is silly, but it is a boon here: wiser it is, to admire the products on the bottom left than to stomach the mediocrity occupying the rest of the big screen.

Little mercies!