Funke Akindele’s Your Excellency, does well, unlike the recent Nigerian ‘comedies’ – and I use comedies loosely here- that have dominated the Nigerian cinemas in recent years. The premise for Your Excellency seems like one that actual thought went into its birthing. The movie follows Chief Olalekan Ajadi – Akin Lewis – a billionaire businessman and failed presidential candidate, who goes on his fourth and final attempt at becoming president. An, unarguably, inept and unlikely candidate, Ajadi’s fortune, unexpectedly, turns for good – cheers to the third time being the charm. An incident that should have been a mishap and signaled the end of Ajadi’s dream, does the reverse and sways public admiration and support in his favor.
On a grand scale, Funke Akindele’s Your Excellency, I daresay, isn’t merely a comedy, but a pungent & caustic satire. The world of Your Excellency could be said to be a microcosm of the Nigerian political space. There are parallels that can very easily be drawn between the characters in the movie and some of our own politicians. Your Excellency reflects how our political scene is, itself, just an unending comedy set. The movie shows how, in reality, competence – embodied by Michael Idehen, Deyemi Okanlawon’s character – is no guarantee of success in the Nigerian political scene. For all his preparedness, vibrancy, and forward-thinking, Michael Idehen ends up losing. Rather, fraudulent politicking, background scheming, incompetence, and luck caries the day.
Like I said earlier, the premise of the movie was well-thought-out. However, in my opinion, the plotting didn’t particularly do justice to the premise. The need to infuse certain ‘Nigerian comedy tropes,’ – stuffs the audience might expect/have shown they like – derailed the plot substantially. Consequently, Funke Akindele’s Your Excellency bordered dangerously close around the tropes of ‘slapstick comedy’ but successfully manages not to be completely ruined by it. Also, the movie seemed to dwell on certain plot points for far too long – probably because they were supposed to be comedic gold – causing the film to drag. In addition, the B stories in the film did very little to advance the movie significantly and felt quite forced and separate from the movie for larger spells of the movie.
Typical of Funke Akindele, Your Excellency is laden with a substantial number of pop-culture references. This made the film more fun and relatable. As far as performances go, I would dare to say this is one of my best Akin Lewis performances ever. Toni Tones, as usual, was impressive with her performance. Generally, the acting in Your Excellency was up to par.
There were a few forgivable technical lapses here and there throughout the film, most of which I feel many people wouldn’t notice. I probably wouldn’t have noticed myself, but my editor eye wouldn’t just leave me be. There was a case of negligence on the part of the colorist/supervising editor of the film. I remember vividly that at one point, the grading on one of Funke Akindele’s close up shot disappeared, revealing the original flat ungraded footage, only to reappear later.
Now, I really have to ask, is EbonyLife Films trying to create a cinematic universe? I couldn’t help but notice character from previous EbonyLife movies making appearances in Your Excellency. EmmaOhMyGod reprised his character as the shady pastor from The Wedding Party, Falz also had a cameo as his Beecroft character from Chief Daddy alongside Beverly Osu. Kemi Lala Akindoju also plays a character quite similar to that of Royal Hibiscus Hotel, same as Ini-Dima Okogie.
With all said, If a feel-good-comedy movie is what you really want to see, Funke Akindele’s Your Excellency would be just right for you.
Your Excellency was written by Yinka Ogun and produced by Isioma Osaje and James Amuta. The cast includes Akin Lewis, Lala Akindoju, Shaffy Bello, Mike Afolarin, Kunle Coker, Eku Edewor, Alex Ekubo, Oreka Godis, Osas Ighodaro, Mike Iheuwa, Seyi Law, Bimbo Manuel, Deyemi Okanlawon, Ini Dima-Okojie, Chioma ‘Chigul’ Omeruah, Emmanuel OMG, Ikechukwu Onunaku, Helen Paul and Toni Tones.