A scene in Okafor’s Law may be familiar to some viewers. Chuks (Blossom Chukwujekwu), a guy nicknamed Terminator for his way with women, stands by a window. Behind him, a lady he’s just had sex with asks, “What happens to us now?”
“Babe,” he says, “there’s no us.”
She leaves angrily. She is about to get married. With that scene, Omoni Oboli‘s follow-up to the ghastly Wives on Strike has made a point it will develop over the next hour: man emerges as conqueror in sexual affairs. Women are cursed with feelings.
The story follows Chuks Okafor who accepts a bet from two friends (played incapably by Ken Erics and passably by Gabriel Afolayan) that he can bed three girls he has had years before, while attending university. He accepts because he is a firm believer in Okafor’s Law – which dear reader, you must have heard about. If you haven’t, this is what it comes down to: “If you shag a woman you can shag her again.”
Of course, the Law (not theory, as we reminded over and over in the film) has always had undertones of misogyny, if only because it is silent on the reverse: It never tells if shagging a man means you can shag him again. Oboli, it seems from this film and Wives on Strike, has sex on her brain. She also has the prudish Nigerian sense of morality. To reconcile these contradictions, she uses humour as mediator.
The most apparent use of humour is in giving same name (Chuks) to all three friends; to tell them apart they have different nicknames. (It might also be a clever way of saying all three are different parts of one man.) The three girls (because, well, there must be some symmetry) are played by Oboli herself, Toyin Aimakhu, and Ufuoma McDermott. One is now a devout, another a high ranking professional, the last is a rich man’s wife. The film shows how Chuks the Terminator goes after all three and the aftermath of his quest.
If you assume a film, on an essentially sexist premise, made by a woman might feature criticism of said, law and lead to the women having the trump card, you will be wrong.
In fact, the most harm that comes to Terminator comes at the hands of another man. Even as the women here appear more empowered than the women of Wives on Strike, they still are women who take sex as means to an end. The earlier film had better behaviour from men as its end; this one has marriage and the promise of ever after. Women, according to these films, can never see sex as an end. It is too frivolous an activity or too serious an act. Sex is sin.
What passes for humour is once again the banal. There is a version of Zainab Balogun’s cultured caterer in The Wedding Party speaking Yoruba: Aimakhu does same here.
Also, the stereotypes pile: A rich man’s wife is unhappy; a successful woman needs love; a born again lady is merely waiting for the right dick. All of these may be true, but an artist should transform facts to something more.
Okafor’s Law gives the lessons but comes off as bland. Omoni Oboli, as a director, might have good intentions. So far she just doesn’t seem able to transform her righteous convictions into cinematic art.