Two years ago, ‘Chief Daddy’ executive producer, Mo Abudu, teamed-up with FilmOne, Inkblot Production and Koga Studios, for ‘The Wedding Party.’ It was a runaway success, reportedly grossing N453 million at the box office.
Abudu, CEO of Ebonylife Films was the face of ‘The Wedding Party,’ consequently enjoying the associated publicity and goodwill. Already a force to be reckoned with, Abudu became Nigeria’s box office queen in 2017, when ‘The Wedding Party’ sequel grossed N500 million.
The ‘Wedding Party,’ captures the chaos that ensues as families try to outdo each other in a typical Nigerian wedding – more so when it’s multicultural. Ebonylife Films flips the script with ‘Chief Daddy,’ showing the antics at play when a wealthy polygamist passes away.
Doing what she does best, Abudu brings together a bevy of stars as the main cast of ‘Chief Daddy.’ And as usual, it’s good for publicity. But merely watching the ‘Chief Daddy’ trailer you can tell the storyline. The plot is very simple so the attention to detail might be the only reason why this movie might be worth your while.
The plot is based on family reconciliation. Chief Akinwale Beecroft (Taiwo Obileye) fondly called ‘Chief Daddy is a flamboyant industrialist. He is also a benefactor to a large extended family and household staff. The billionaire although married to Kemi (Joke Silva), has an assortment of mistresses including; Nike (Shaffy Bello) and Ekanem (Ini Edo). Kate Henshaw and Funke Akindele-Bello play Teni and Tinu, Beecroft’s eldest daughters from his first marriage.
Understandably, Kemi is displeased that her husband has concubines. Ajoke (Rachel Oniga), Beecroft’s sister, Teni and Tinu are a united front against Kemi. They take sides with Nike seeing Nike as Kemi’s karma – a repayment for sending Chief Daddy’s first wife to an early grave.
Richard Mofe-Damijo and Dakore Akande of Ebonylife’s legal drama series, ‘Castle & Castle’ are cross-over stars. They feature as Tega and Remi Castle, legal representatives of Chief Daddy. Patience Ozokwor and (Nkem Owoh) are cast on familiar territory. Ozokwor plays Pat, the no-nonsense housekeeper while Owoh is Donatus, the driver who thinks of himself as a chauffeur. Artist, MI Abaga also makes a cameo appearance as a music producer, Mr X.
Also included in the cast are; Beverly Naya, Beverly Osu, Chioma ‘Chigurl’ Omeruah, Chinedu Ani-Michael (Nedu), Lepacious Bose, Mawuli Gavor and Zainab Balogun.
When Chief Daddy sudden drops dead, it’s chaotic. Everyone feels entitled to an inheritance. Beecroft didn’t need a premonition to know this would happen. So, his last request is that he must be buried within seven days of his passing. All hands have to be on deck, and the funeral must be without any rancor. Otherwise, there will be no reading of his last Will and Testament.
‘Chief Daddy’ is an authentic Nigerian story, but the script left something to be desired. Firstly, that the housekeeper’s daughter, played by Beverly Naya, is a student of the prestigious London School of Economics is far-fetched. Uti Nwachukwu’s lines are also highly implausible. Pat and Donatus trying to resuscitate Chief Daddy was almost moronic. Rather that waste of time, why didn’t Pat call doctor Bada since she was that familiar with him? There is also no standout scene. You wait for it until the movie ends but it doesn’t come.
Be that as it may, Femi (Folarin ‘Falz’ Falana), Chief Daddy’s son by Kemi, will make you laugh out loud. It was refreshing to see him play a different role other than ‘Falz.’ He speaks in a passable cockney accent. And shockingly, his song, ‘Who’s Your Daddy’ grows on you. Bisola gives a superb deadpan performance although it is brief.
By the same token, the costume designer did a brilliant job. Except for Nike wearing an evening gown to work during the day, the costumes fit the occasions and personalities of the characters. The clothing and accessories used in the funeral reception scene are also especially tasteful.
The scenic design is also worthy of note; it is exquisitely detailed. And the product placements are seamless. The decor in Beecroft’s home includes a photo frame of Femi when he was young. As Tega goes through Chief Daddy’s photo album we also see past and present photos of his relatives. These elements standout.
‘Chief Daddy’ opened in cinemas on 14 December and reportedly grossed N42.6 million in the opening weekend. It is a comedy, a genre which Nigerians can’t get enough of. But should ‘Chief Daddy’ smash the box office, it won’t be because of the storyline.
The movie ends with a twist that suggests a sequel might be in the works. It would be surprising if it is well received. We are curious to see how that pans out.
Directed by: Niyi Akinmolayan
Executive Producer: Mo Abudu
Producer: Temidayo Abudu
Cast includes: Taiwo Obileye, Joke Silva, Shaffy Bello, Ini Edo, Kate Henshaw, Funke Akindele-Bello, Richard Mofe-Damijo, Dakore Akande, Patience Ozokwor, Nkem Owoh, MI Abaga, Folarin “Falz” Falana, Beverly Naya, Beverly Osu, Bisola Aiyeola, Chioma ‘Chigurl’ Omerua, Chinedu Ani-Michael (Nedu), Lepacious Bose, Mawuli Gavor, Uti Nwachukwu and Zainab Balogun.