The second installment in Toyin Abraham's comedy franchise.
Toyin Abraham’s latest film, ‘The Ghost and the Tout Too’, is the staple offering of action and comedy that we have come to expect in Nigerian cinema.
Taking a cue from its prequel ‘The Ghost and the Tout’, we see Isla portrayed by Toyin Abraham reiterates her character as a ghetto bred who can see ghosts. This time, Isla is in tune with her powers, and she tags her best friend Amaka (Mercy Johnson) on her adventure as a psychic. Soon after, her life is thrown into a series of dramas that only she can see and understand.
Directed by fast-rising Nollywood director, Micheal Akinrogunde (AMA Psalmist), the film strives for wild, physical humor and heart-tugging poignancy but achieves neither, occupying an uncomfortable middle ground of its own.
The screenplay struggles with setting a plot as substantial as its first part, making it arduous to decipher the producer’s motivation for producing a sequel of this particular story.
With a runtime of over one hour thirty minutes, the movie showcases its lead character Amoke (Osas Ighodaro), as complacent but incapable of helping herself. Amoke’s drink is spiked while attending a party; she slides into a coma and has only seven days left to live. With her unsettling spirit seeking a solution, she solicits Isla’s help in solving the mystery behind her attempted murder.
This project would have been a superb narrative to tell, but the character development and backstory are weak and needed more work to really project situations synonymous with being a medium, especially in Isla’s case. A better background work would have made the flick more engaging through the storytelling.
Asides from its cheesy plot, The Ghost and the Tout Too also fails in terms of characterisation. A lot of the characters are misplaced and their dialogues have no correlation to the progression of the film, begging the question: why use such a large cast if they will be rendered inactive? For instance, Patience Ozokwor plays the role of Mama Gee, an area mama in the community where Isla lives, but unfortunately, she has no lines, and her cameo appearance in the project could definitely have been left out.
Toyin Abraham is famous for infusing a lot of celebrities in her film projects; this definitely works for marketing because a lot of these celebrities have the right social
currency to create a blockbuster film. Still, the audience is deprived of an actual storyline, in most cases, because many of these characters are not appropriately utilized to make the motion picture work.
Toyin Abraham's delivery in this film is also a bit over the top. Toyin is an excellent comedy actress, but this particular character has her all over the place, and her delivery seems forced and unreal, making it strenuous for us to root for her character, who appears to be struggling with balancing her life with the real world and afterlife. Her needs were unclear, and the spur to follow her story was watered down as the play drew to its end.
Osas Ighodaro, on the other hand, attempted a good performance, and it was obvious that the director tried to use her persona to tell the story. Still, unfortunately, she couldn’t maintain a stellar performance throughout the entire project.
Ini Edo’s character in this project somehow felt like a misplacement. She is meant to be the villain in this story, but her character progression is weak in every ramification. The film introduced her role without power and stance; her lines felt more like they were prompted to her on set as they didn’t connect to the storyline. Her scenes were a total turn-off to the larger audience in the cinema hall, and I could hear an audience member ask loudly, “what exactly is Ini doing in this film?”
Isla’s sidekick Amaka (Mercy Johnson), also known as Makawhy, didn’t leave any surprises with her acting as well. She did offer some humour, and that was it.
There were also some scenes where, puzzlingly, the characters look straight into the camera as they argue with each other, which wasn't communicating anything to the audience; instead, it looked all jumbled up.
Unfortunately, other elements in this picture such as cinematography, art direction and costume designing, do not help to elevate the film in any way. I can't help but think that producers sometimes take the viewers for granted by churning low-quality projects year in and year out.
Through the monotony of everyday life, we’re often drawn to the extraordinary for a magical break. When it comes to cinema, this need for something exciting benefits both viewers and producers, as cinephiles devour every film within their genre of choice and ideally get a different impression from each story. This project, however, doesn’t give the expected attention-grabbing sequence that creates an exciting cinema experience. It sends no message, and its motive is misplaced.
Conclusively, this project is decent. It's not as hilarious as I had hoped, and the anti-climax is a complete letdown at the end of the movie; I simply cannot get past how the film ended as it prompts a possible third installation. While The Ghost and Tout Too does have its exciting moments – if you're patient enough to overlook its shortcomings – it is evidence that we need better screenwriters in Nollywood to write better stories.
The Ghost and the Tout Too is currently showing in cinemas nationwide.