Nse Ikpe-Etim, Wale Ojo, Chika Okpala, Lydia Forson, Joke Silva, Afeez Oyetoro, Ada Ameh
Akin and Mary meet for the first time at an airport where they accidentally bump into each other and mistakenly swap their identical phones. This leads to a destination mix up after they receive one another’s text regarding a travel destination. Consequently, Akin ends up travelling to where Mary is supposed to go and vice versa. Complications arise at every turn as they both struggle to adapt to their alien environment and situation.
The picture, the story, the comedy, the romance.
The unrealistic situations.
Many people watch movies for many different reasons. Some to fill time, others to escape their reality or possibly to see other people’s difficult lives to make ourselves feel better about our own lives. However, for me, it’s mostly about the feeling. It’s every single one of the afore listed reason with the added bonus of making me ‘feel’, and this was one aspect that Phone Swap excelled in.
Comedies in Nollywood, for me, are usually a no-go area. As I’ve stated before, they always seem to start with Mr. Ibu and end with Aki-and-pawpaw either stealing their neighbors goat or torturing their father. However, phone swap is a welcome change.
The movie starts off with Akin – played so convincingly well by Wale Ojo – a tireless and ruthless business man attempting to scale the ladders of corporate success whilst being non-challant of all the little people he might pull down on his way up. He has poor relations with his mother – played by the legendary Joke Silva – as he shoves off her attempts to keep in contact with him or get him to visit him. He is also very unwelcoming to his Ghanaian girlfriend of two years played by Lydia Forson.
The character of Akin is juxtaposed with that of Mary – played by the ever so effortless Nse Ikpe-Etim. Mary is a talented tailor that is taken advantage of by her madam Alexis. She is also in a dedicated relationship with a run-of-the-mill typical igbo business man of the “international-importer-and-exporter breed” who hardly takes her feelings into consideration when he says things like “but Nne, this shirt is ugly” in response to a birthday present she made for him.
Mary is presented as a sweet and amiable girl whilst Akin is the boss you pray you never have until they eventually collide in the inevitable phone swap. From here commences my commentary. At this point, a couple things are a bit unrealistic but we will have to shut that part of our brain off in order to enjoy the rest of the movie. For instance there is a significant difference between the size and feel of the BB Bold Akin is sporting and the BB Curve that Mary has so how come nobody noticed? For this I assume they were in such a hurry that nobody looked into it. However, after Akin receives a message from Alex on this BB Curve and he types to respond, how could you not tell that that was not your phone? There was also the issue of Mary ending up on the wrong flight? There was no explanation for this but we just go with the flow and shut the questions in our heads off.
Asides from that Phone Swap is a brilliant cinematic piece. The cinematography and photography were genius but also beautiful – what is the difference between genius and beautiful? The fact that you don’t need to know anything about the technicalities of film making to appreciate the effort that was put into it.
Story wise the comedy was present and solid. It wasn’t rampant with laughs but neither was it flamboyantly depicting some unrealistic caricature situation that is not necessarily amusing but forces you to insert-laughter-here because of how pronounced and highlighted that situation is – in case you missed it, this is my reference to Aki & PawPaw films. It was the right mix of subtlety and realistic to make you laugh even when the characters were not laughing.
The movie still integrated that regular comedy we’re used to with the addition of Ada Ameh, Lydia Forson and Afeez Oyetoro’s characters. However, I thank who ever wrote the script for integrating subtlety as opposed to the usual gra-gra you would expect. Ada Ameh had amazing comic timing, she was fire on a mountain that I definitely don’t want to be on. Lydia Forson killed me with her presentation and all Afeez Oyetoro has to do to make me laugh is show up. His facial expressions are hilarity personified.
Being a die-hard romantic that I am, I loved the romance in phone swap I just wish it was a little more. By the time the characters get around to falling in love with each other, the way the script is constructed, the viewer has already fallen in love with both of them and you are simply waiting for them to catch on. Nse and Wale do not have many scenes together even though the movie is about their love story, regardless even through their phone conversations they are able to create an emotional connection that ties the viewers in.
At the end of the movie I was left looking for more because I wanted to finally see scenes of Mary and Akin actually together, however, I did not get that. One great thing about the movie is the emotional connect it creates between the viewers and the ‘couple’, the viewers and the individual characters, and the characters and each other and not just Mary and Akin. At the end of the movie you don’t just feel like you’ve seen another movie. It has a lasting impact that only a few movies can create. It’s one of those movies that will have you coming back to it time after time.
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