N. F. Kenure
Nigerian movies would have us believe it’s okay to hit your domestic staff and children, so Chief Daddy ends a cold open with a slap across a gateman’s face for sleeping on duty to wake us all up.
Warning! Spoilers ahead. Except, wait for it .. there is nothing to ruin here.
Chief Daddy is the well-known folklore of the Nigerian man who dies and has wives and children scrambling out of unknown crevices to the horror of the mourning wife. The story, dialogue and acting was what I believed was old school Nollywood. I genuinely thought we had gone past this stage. The characters were all unfleshed and lacking depth. Falz is the irresponsible, rapper son of a billionaire with Beverly Osu as his vapid girlfriend. I’ll ignore Falz’s derivative rap style and accent, except to say I could tell the movie would only go down hill. I just didn’t know how hard and fast it would fling itself. Kate Henshaw and Funke Akindele are the “evil” step sister archetypes. Two minutes in, and the banter between chauffeur Donatus (Nkem Owoh) and Madam Pat (Patience Ozokwor) is one we’ve all seen a thousand times. When you need a potential lover for fine boy footballer played by Mawuli Gavo, you throw in a sultry Beverly Naya is what you do.
Is anyone thinking about writing revolutionary scenarios instead of prescriptive movies? Does any script writer care to show what the society could look like if certain cultural practice are eschewed? Are there stories that are critical of our ills instead of relying on the excuse of being reflective of our lifestyles? From Chief Daddy’s sister, Aunty Joke (Rachel Oniga) assuming the position of head of family, to Falz insisting that as a son he has more rights to his father’s wealth, the place of the wife in Nigeria is made clear. Falz’s claim to the inheritance is voided immediately when another son who is older walks in. It is sad that many viewers would see these two people - the sister and the son- as being in the right.
Chief Daddy’s family.
Chief Daddy (the man specifically) was pure trash. He is the quintessential African father, who makes a mess of his life living for his own pleasures, then expects other people to clear up said mess when he finally realizes family is everything. But Chief is dirty rich, so his ‘loved’ ones stick around for the inevitable drama.
It’s probably apt that not one person actually mourns the loss of chief.
This “comedy” is rife with every slapstick trick and actor thrown in for cheap reactions from Chigirl to Nedu to Bisola and many more.
Every time Lady Kay played by Joke Silva said “my husband” I wanted to slap her across the face. Like almost all Nigerians, I think that Joke Silva is a goddess, so I was mad that this movie was making me want to do her face in.
Every free celebrity that was available, from Ayo Lijadu to Zainab Balogun was in this movie, and I don’t know why. Literally anyone could have played every single role in the whole film.
We finally see the major players cry when they think they have lost any chance to inherit the money. The last sob story by Linda Ejiofor that explains she is actually Chief Daddy’s adopted daughter, not a lover, - a pitiable attempt to humanize her - is almost laughable. Almost. Lady Kay gets an apology from the rest of the family to tie it all together and
Chief Daddy finally acknowledges via another letter read by his lawyers (played by Richard Mofe Damijo and Dakore Egbuson-Akande) that he deserves whatever his dead body got as a funeral. All's well that ends well as everyone gets something in the will.
Ohh... There is one final twist - I’ll pretend I don’t want to spoil it for any readers when the truth is, I was done.
Things I liked about this movie: the name.
The very worst thing about Chief Daddy the movie? Every single wig.
Chief Daddy was so bad I had to watch it again to be sure it wasn’t just hunger clouding my senses. It wasn’t.
I am glad I did not pay money to see this. Chief Daddy was directed by Niyi Akinmolayan and is now streaming on Netflix.
Mar 29, 2019