Chelsea Eze, Moyo Lawal, Bolanle Ninalowo, David Grey, Jenny Uzoma, Desmond Elliot, Emem Ufot
A pampered, conservative rich girl and a loud-mouthed prostitute tell the story to a movie producer of how they ended up suddenly switching bodies after a near death encounter at the same time of day.
Augusta Chibuike, Francisca Eleyele, Emeka Duru, Princewill Kalu
"If them no one cast me, make dem use Mercy Johnson. Na the only person way fit get me be that"
Audio quality and camera movements in some scenes
Whether or not Emem & Angie was a great movie, whether or not it did everything right, you still have to give it to the movie for trying to do something different.
In Emem & Angie, two completely different ladies switch bodies after a near-death experience. Angie lives in Lagos and is getting ready for her upcoming wedding. One night she wakes up late and decides to go downstairs and get something to drink when she is suddenly pushed and lands up unconscious at the bottom of the stairs. Emem is a ‘runs girl’ in Ibadan who finds herself entangled with a ‘rich guy’ who seems to be playing for the other team. When she refuses what he is asking but demands to still be paid, he gets angry, hits her at the back of her head and escapes. When they both wake up, they find themselves in different bodies and in different cities, and as such the story commences as the ladies reattempt to enter their own body.
Despite it’s originality for nollywood, it is still desperately unoriginal. These body swap movies have had their reign in American movies since the era of Freaky Friday, but this seems to be their first stop in Nigerian movies (please correct me if I am wrong). But it is not a bad start. The smart thing about it is that they take these two actors – Chelsea Exe and Moyo Lawal – and cast them in their most typecast roles – because Chelsea has been getting these rich girl roles and Moyo these call girl roles – and then proceed to flip the switch on them. In the first few minutes after the body switch, it was hard to believe either parties. Chelsea was a sham of a call girl and Moyo seemed to be trying too hard. However, it does not take long after that before you really begin to think this is Emem in Angie and Angie in Emem. Chelsea ramps it up as things proceed that it wouldn’t be surprising if she starts getting more of the ‘Ememstiko’ kind of roles. And Moyo owns the rich spoilt brat persona as well.
Now for the pitfalls. Granted it’s our first foray, and considering how original nollywood is known to be I have no doubt that there will be many more body swap films in our future, it’s a good first attempt. However, it does not win with the storyline. The genre (so to say) of body swap movies require a certain of an adventure feel as the characters go on the journey of getting over their shock and attempting to go back into their own bodies. The storyline that guides the adventure here (with the whole Alfred angle) worked well enough, but it missed that immersive aspect. Many of these new nollywood movies seem to all miss the same thing with the immersiveness. In that they never get to a point where they pull you into the world and take you along for the ride (that feeling you get from a “Native Son” or a “Backup Wife” or a “Family Man“).
Special mention to Genny Uzoma who plays Rose. She more than had her moment to shine in the last few minutes of the movie and she did not waste it. Special mention also goes to the writers for keeping the exposition brief. Each character had one scene to establish background before the movie went right into telling the story.
Emem & Angie is not a perfect movie but it has many laughs and the combination of the crew in front of the screen and those behind it worked well with the few resources they seemed to have to create a movie that was enjoyable from start to finish – no matter how brief it felt.