Fate of Alakada: The Party Planner
Over-the-top comedy about party-planning fraud; language.
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Fate of Alakada: The Party Planner
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Fate of Alakada: The Party Planner is the fifth film in a popular Nigerian comedy series mocking Nigerian pop culture and social media. In Yoruba with English subtitles, it's reportedly the highest grossing Nigerian film of 2020. That said, what qualifies as humor diverges wildly among different nationalities of the world, and the over-the-top attempt at satire may not read that way for an American sensibility. Two grifters pretend they're party planners, get a rich guy to give them millions in the local currency to throw a party, then spend it all on their own clothes, cars, alcohol, entertainments, and yachts. Language includes "s--t," "hell," "and damn," and recreational drug use and drinking are seen. Drunk clerics fight at a naming ceremony. A man interviewing a cake vendor tries to kiss the prim and professional saleswoman. Righteously indignant, she gets up and leaves. Male partygoers dance suggestively with shirts off.
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What's the Story?
In FATE OF ALAKADA, Yetunde (well-known Nigerian actor, director and producer Toyin Abraham) is a feisty Nigerian social influencer who crashes a movie premiere, pretending to know the attending celebrities. She mingles among reality stars, musicians and actors, several playing themselves, who will be familiar to fans of Nollywood (Nigeria's Hollywood, one of the largest film industries in the world). Yetty's sidekick, a guy with misplaced swagger and self confidence named Kas (Broda Shaggi), routinely speaks, or yells, before he thinks, leading to many awkward moments. Yetty, who admits to lying uncontrollably, seems to have only slightly more awareness of how to behave in public. Much of her interaction with Kas involves berating him for his chatty asides. When she overhears an event planner boasting about the millions she's raking in, Yetty decides that impersonating a party planner and scamming wealthy clients would be a great way to fill her bank account. She and Kas borrow garish clothes and fake their way through one embarrassing job interview after another with sophisticated clients, most of whom recognize the scam and angrily kick the pair out. Somehow they get hired, their first event a naming ceremony, where the irresponsible Kas dumps his recreational drug of choice into the punch, rendering the presiding clerics into blustering, arguing, incapacitated boobs who get the baby's name wrong and collapse into a free-for-all fight. Nigerian musician Swanky Jerry (playing himself) fails to see through Yetty and Kas and gives them 13 million naira in advance to plan a birthday party. The duo spends most of it on parties and clothes of their own. Will Yetty and Kas get away with their scam?
Is It Any Good?
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.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about why people lie about themselves in social media posts. What's the upside of doing that? What's the downside?
Do you think the filmmakers want us to believe that Yetty and Kas are realistic characters? What are some ways the film tells us how seriously to take them?
Do you think certain subjects are so universal that they can be approached by filmmakers of any nationality and be understood by all audiences? Are there subjects that might be misunderstood or not understood at all when made in one country and viewed by those in another?
- In theaters: April 3, 2020
- On DVD or streaming: March 5, 2021
- Cast: Toyin Abraham, Broda Shaggi, Swanky Jerry, Funke Bucknor
- Director: Kayode Kasum
- Studio: Netflix
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 110 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: March 15, 2021
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