Picture The Three Stooges soliciting the business of wealthy clients seeking event planners and you won't have imagined anything near the level of unwatchability of Fate of Alakada: The Party Planner. A canny editor might be able to ruthlessly cut this down to a so-so five-minute comedy sketch, but what are we to do with the excess 105 minutes of awfulness? It's often fun to root for clever fraudsters as they lure their marks into the swindle of the moment with charm and smarts, but these criminals are unlikable, selfish, unpolished scammers who can't be bothered until it’s too late to learn enough about party planning to seem the least bit plausible to prospective employers. The actors start nearly every scene at the highest pitch of emotion, annoyance, or enthusiasm. Manic yelling, forced laughter, grimacing, and over-gesticulating is the norm. The repetitive action, the monotone emotional arc, and our own tolerance for all the nonsense have no place to go.
The writers and director are no better. One interview-gone-wrong follows another when the first would have been sufficient to move the story along. Yetty supposedly learns a lesson in all this (she blames her lying on society and social media, promises to lie no more, then immediately lies again). But skilled filmmakers show how characters mature. Here it's left to Yetty to explain her alleged improvement, an improvement that evidence doesn't support. That said, the movie is the latest in a popular Nigerian comedy series that includes the 2017 Alakada Reloaded and, according to lead actor Troyin Abraham, a new film on the way. Perhaps familiarity with the other movies in the franchise would pave the way for greater enjoyment. For anyone outside the Nigerian niche audience, the best this can hope to achieve is cult classic status, the kind of so-bad-it’s-good appreciation that boosted the reputations of other infamous pictures, including The Room, Plan 9 from Outer Space, and Ishtar.