Meet the In-Laws – fantastic family comedy
In Meet the In-Laws one Ada and Dapo meet and fall in love and after deciding to get married, they are then faced with the challenge of convincing their respective parents. The set up is comedy and it definitely works as comedy with Tina Mba championing the Yoruba front and Amaechi Muonagor on the Igbo front. We recently saw it in “The Wedding” and we’ve seen it in many more movies before that, the quintessential “inter-tribal marriage” storyline.
You really go along with this movie and laugh in many moments (even at Kenneth Okolie’s failed attempt at an importer/exporter), because it is that kind of movie. It’s unserious, it is light, it is caricaturee-ish – it is like a modern aki and pawpaw. And then the movie needed a resolution and along came the flashback storyline. The flashback storyline segues from the original mood and becomes a bit more serious but even then it is not serious enough that the comedy is lost. However, it does detract from the focus on the “inter-tribal marriage” bias and turns it towards a bias from the past.
Therefore even though Meet the In-Laws starts off as a movie about families that refuse to come together because of tribal differences, instead it turns into just a story of families that oppose the marriage due to conflicts in their past. The best parts of this movie are in the straight shots of comedy that come from Tina and Amaechi opposing the union.
One thing Meet the In-Laws did beautifully was to finish their “love story” (aka how they meet and fall in love) with the opening credits and focus the entire movie on one conflict. A lot of movies want to add the “getting together” storyline to the storyline they are already telling. Pick one story please and stick with it.
Lilian Esoro is flawless as our female lead. She kind of reminds us of Esther Audu while still being completely her own person and consistently delivering in such a natural manner from film to film. Niyi Johnson, on the other hand, does not have us sold as “Dapo”. He seems like his confidence is still a work in progress and it showed at many points during the movie.
Kenneth Okolie as Chigozie our “Importer/Exporter” is contrived at best but just plain forced if we are being honest. It was the one moment in the movie that you truly understand the caricature nature of it all. It was not quite “Desmond Elliott in After the Proposal” and it was definitely nowhere near the greats of Mekus Delalala (played by Chigozie Atuanya in Blackberry babes) or Wonderboy (by Mike Ezuruonoye in “The Celebrity“). The element that was missing in Kenneth’s performance was conviction. It was almost like he thought it was a joke so we, the audience, also thought it was a joke.
All that being said, “Meet the In-Laws” is a fantastic and light family comedy that does the job and then goes away from your memory.
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