Prior to watching Okafor’s Law, an industry friend had confirmed to me that he had watched the movie. He also had an interesting opinion of it, as he messaged me his observation: “It’s a clichéd mess of other clichéd messes that Matthew McConoughey did in the early 2000s”. Turns out, after watching this excessively hyped movie, that he is not far from the truth. But, hey, aren’t romantic comedies all almost like the same? A lot of them also dabble into this same concept of a guy and three girls and his final choice amongst them. Oh, how I love Definitely, Maybe (2008).
Asides these, the major impression Okafor’s Law makes for me is that it lives off already existing plots, which is fine anyway, but it fails to establish its own identity, despite the obvious attempt in branding it Okafor’s Law, and this is due to lack of story depth, and in some areas, sense, which I will tackle in detail.
Nobody could possibly miss the fact that this movie is majorly themed on the theory of Okafor’s Law which states that once a man has slept with a woman, he will always be able to sleep with her in future, no matter the circumstance. So, the protagonist is made to prove this theory with three presumably difficult target-exes who have various exotic backgrounds.
This theme is also coupled with the concept of An Extreme Case of Philandering in the character of our protagonist, which sort of lowers the game stakes and dilutes the potential freaky conflicts; it is not enough that the targets are difficult, the protagonist could also be a difficult person to be swayed into playing this game, who peradventure happened to have slept with a bride-to-be in the beginning of the movie.
This would mean he wouldn’t be such a philanderer. It also seems a little easy that he wants to prove a point to his friends, he could be convinced after much hassle. The “argument” between he and his friends before he finally agrees to play the game comes off too unnatural to really excite a hungry audience.
The Friendship Bond serves as a reconvene for Chux the Terminator and his friends (the other Chuxs) to discuss women and what have you, and after a hard day’s try to bed the candidates. Though, in reality, it feels like the filmmaker’s method of delivering tons of story details via dialogue, which is somewhat distasteful, despite the sometimes-pleasant choice of wording.
One would wonder if this is LOVE! Nothing suggests that the terminator is truly in love with Tomi, the entrepreneur and final target, asides his shocking declaration, and his unrelatable declination from Chux the terminator to Chux the “celebator”.
It’s even more outrageous seeing that the terminator seemed only sad with Tomi because she was not cooperating with his game plan, and his deadline to bed all three targets was closing in, and not that he was seeing something different in her that crushed his heart.
Then, he later realizes that he’s actually in love with Ejiro, the first candidate who had been distastefully stalking him after it was clear she just got played? Come on, isn’t it bad enough that our Nigerian ladies already do these things with no result? What is with the recommendation and encouragement of this sort of pathetic character with a happy ending, especially as we do not see Ejiro really moving on? Shame! Shame!! Shame!!! 4/10
Okafor’s Law seems to have a beautiful plot despite it’s somewhat poor execution, and its later deterioration into a series of senseless and lowly scenes for Act 3.
In the opening scene, though, it is clear what kind of person Chux, the terminator, is at the traditional wedding, as the following scene also shows his romping to naught the bride from the previous scene.
His friends sighting of that bride leaving his house and the progress into discussing the history of Okafor’s Law is timely, and somewhat links forward to the moment Ify’s husband (the second target’s husband) almost kills Chux just like the King killed Okafor in the olden days.
Although, a brilliant linkage, it can be easily lost on majority of the audience, as it’s not really emphasized. This might be due to the filmmaker dabbling in to other gist that clog the story, for example, the other Chuxes character developments at their homes, which did nothing for the major plot really.
The best part of the movie is the establishment of what kind of lives the three target-exes currently live. Here, the filmmaker takes advantage of these details to a considerable extent by planting the terminator in situations and places that would compromise the targets’ lives. It is a lot of fun watching all that play out.
However, a number of empty scenes do ensue:
- The call-card the terminator handed over to Ify that fell onto the ground. There are no link-backs to if her husband saw the card or if he used the details of the card in the end. It is also not clear if the terminator uses his house address on his call card, which could clearly pose as the reason Ify’s husband finds Chux’s house. That was all somewhat off.
- It wouldn’t hurt to not blur out Ify in the background when Chux puts her assistant to sleep at the bar. The later reveal does nothing much for effect, but only shows an excuse for a delay, unrelated, and trying-hard-to-be-funny dialogue.
- Chuxs pays attention to too many inconsequential ladies in the movie. So much, that the audience become bored stiff with this regular antic. Although, the engaged lady he meets much later seems to give some flesh to the bearded Chux’s character, as his wife makes a scene with the information that arises from it. This scene also falls flat, as she keeps rambling about two characters we only met in the beginning, and who had no development or resonance with the audience whatsoever.
- There doesn’t seem to be any importance of the orphanage home Chuxs and Ejiro did a little helping with. It seems though that Chux is being portrayed as humanitarian, despite his philandering nature. Still, it doesn’t make much sense, as the only thing he keeps saying as what he does is that he runs “a farm business, and other things with his guys occasionally”, none of which is related to the orphanage. This, therefore makes this scene too contrived.
There also is an issue with how he selects the love of his life amongst the three women. It would be nicer to have Tomi and Chux in more catchy moments like it is with the first two targets. And this does not include a random night of staring at a Nigerian sky and catching a shooting star. Really?! Whatever happened to google? Oh? It’s only fictitious Okafor’s Law that can be googled, but not shooting-stars-sighting-in-Nigeria? What a shameful attempt to copy Hollywood! 3/10
There are so many things wrong about Chux, the terminator, and this has nothing to do with his philandering nature. He’s almost a flat character, who the filmmaker allows to prance about with his philandering as if it were more of a talent than a flaw (RE: not making him an obvious philanderer). It would have made a lot of sense that the law of karma meets up with him in the end if his downfall happens naturally – it does not. Chux, the terminator, is also a poor copy of a clichéd character with no unique differing angle away from majority of the philanderers the audience have seen in films.
The idea of using characters just for quick fixes and nothing more is so much on the low, and this movie engages in it unsatisfactorily, despite the decent number of characters herein. The saddest aspect, also, is that all the characters are gravely underdeveloped. From the bride and groom in the beginning to Ejiro’s ex in the end, the audience do not know them in-depth. This makes their roles actually not as relevant as this filmmaker likely wishes they be.
If a character is portrayed to know so much about another character, there should be a sort of visible relationship (even if it is long distance) to convince the audience of how this character came to know about the other character: bearded Chux knows all about the three targets, but we do not see, even in a glimpse, how; Terminator’s mother also knows about Ejiro and her love-sickness, yet we do not see any moment where it is clear these two have even met. Dialogue alone cannot do the trick.
The other two Chuxes seem to serve as cues for the terminator to dialogue tirelessly about his game plan and his achievements so far. It would be nicer if they were more useful than this.
Is only showing the seemingly unpleasant nature of the other Chuxes’ wives a form of defense for why the terminator should not get one too? Is this a thing? Otherwise these women could be done away with, as they add no flesh to the major story; brutally worse than their husbands’ contributions.
The manner in which the target-exes are introduced is cinematic, swift, and detailed, allowing following them, and their progress much easy along the line.
It is a little obvious that not many lines are scripted for Ify’s husband, but the actor that takes this role does a whole lot with the character that could make the audience wish for more.
Tomi, the entrepreneur’s sudden switch from being all professional to a Yoruba thug leaves the audience more mortified than terminator’s sudden declaration of love for her. Not much sense in these two cases. It then appears that the filmmaker doesn’t know what she really wants to do with this character from the start.
Heck, if feels like she doesn’t know what she really wants to achieve with ALL the characters, judging from their transitions. 3/10
Who could ever forget Okafor’s Law’s famous line? “Don’t be a stranger”. Said a number of times in the movie, ensuring that it sticks with the audience. Only, the expression is already clichéd in real life. How more clichéd can a clichéd statement get because of a movie? Though, the cliché comes with a whole new meaning. Is that the point?
Then again, how difficult is it for this filmmaker to coin her own fly version of the statement, one that can actually go beyond the movie and be remembered as a line that was first used in Okafor’s Law?
There is not much beating about the bush when it comes to delivering the messages in only some of the dialogue, as the characters in these few instances have a comical way of establishing these messages, sort of.
However, before the history of Okafor’s Law is being narrated by the terminator, there is this back and forth ramble about “Okafor’s Law?” “what is Okafor’s Law?” “Na lie, nor be any theory!” “I fit prove am o” “Ehen, how you wan take prove am?” “Nor be theory o; na confirmed law” kind of drag that comes too tasteless. This kind of hideous dialogue should be left behind in the home-video era.
Some dialogues are perceived to be intentionally funny, but are actually not as funny as this filmmaker probably thinks. This might be because they are forced. We all know what it is like when a clown is forcing himself to be funny, and is not. *so annoying*
The characters also sometimes dwell too much on the dialogue, making it come off too on-the-nose, and turning many scenes into talking heads with not much associating actions. 4/10
It doesn’t take long for the terminator to succeed with his first ever victim of the movie, the bride. This also makes the crux of the filmmaker’s matter established in the first ten minutes, so the audience are already in the know of what they are expecting, allowing the subsequent scenes follow smoothly.
However, when it comes to the last target, Tomi, the entrepreneur, the movie starts to drag as if it is not known what should be done with this character. The audience keeps waiting for something extra from her, but what do we get? A thuggish reaction to being lied to that was never hinted in her character.
This problem also arises because we never get to see a true, relatable and human side of her to at least work as an excuse for terminator’s love for her. It also becomes even clearer in the last scene when Tomi walks in on Chux and Ejiro, that it is not known what her reaction should be. Though, this is somehow, miraculously made to appear like an art.
What was Tomi doing at a men’s boutique in the first place? No one knows. No one knows anything about her apart from the fact that she’s a disciplined and focused entrepreneur. This keeps the audience waiting a lot for some human sense to come about her, which never does.
The long dialogues in places where the message is already established also slows down the movie, coupled with the too few and predictable conflicts herein, as the audience wait for the next big thing that never occurs. 5/10
If for some unfortunate, lazy and uninformed reason, I ended up writing a script like Okafor’s Law and someone else claimed ownership, I wouldn’t mind, because that would be my nasty pre-draft. I would let them have it and keep on working till I have my third draft, which would then be a whole new story.
On the other hand, if I stole a script like Okafor’s Law, I would pick it apart and rebuild from scratch so much so that it would no longer looks like Okafor’s Law. 19/50
Isedehi Aigbogun, also known as ISD, is a staunch academic, holding a B.A., M.A., and PhD (in view) in English Language.
She’s a Screenwriter, Screenplay Analyst, Consultant, and Film Scriptic.