There will always be disappointing movies, it’s inevitable and as cinephiles, this is something we must experience. Filmmaking as an art is a way of telling a story through visual forms and Nollywood is reaching a commendable stage rather too slowly. There are movies that are praised for their art and creativity and there are some that are met with retort or disapproval–– under which The Ghost and the Tout Too falls. The first part released in 2018, The Ghost and the Tout, is one of those movies that should never make it to the big screen, an abomination to filmmaking, a movie filled with an empty plot and aimless characters. However, a sequel directed by Michael ‘Ama Psalmist’ Akinrogunde follows in 2021, which I guess should be a chance at redemption after the first ruckus.
The 2021 sequel, The Ghost and the Tout Too, follows an almost similar storyline; just that unlike the first part, Isla (Toyin Abraham) sees more ghosts than usual and has turned into a messenger for the dead. Any ghost who is wrongfully killed or has a matter to settle with the living turns to Isla for help. From her rapport with ghosts, she makes money and sometimes, even cheats them. Isla becomes a Charon-like deity (the Greek deity who ferries the dead to the underworld through payment) for these paranormal entities, and in the means to hurry her up to carry out their wish, some of the ghosts promise Isla money in return. Eventually, she meets a ‘semi-ghost’—a lady in coma—known as Amoke (Osas Ighodaro), trapped between the land of the living and the dead. With just a few days to live, the rest of the movie is hinged on finding the culprit who poisoned her and trying to wake her from her unconscious state.
One of the key elements that separates a good movie from a bad one is the level of creativity found in the script, directing, acting, editing, and cinematography. Sadly, The Ghost and the Tout Too doesn’t boast much quality in any of the aforementioned elements. In spite of the fact that the sequel is quite an upgrade from the original, both suffer the same flaws and drawbacks. The movie’s attempt to make funny remarks when it isn’t necessary and its resolve to force its crass humour on viewers is one of its major setbacks, like they are finding a need to remind viewers that ‘it is just a comedy’, an escape route to beg viewers to pardon them for the uninteresting circus. I remember how the cinema hall was filled with laughter while watching Omo Ghetto and Breaded Life–– two movies that extensively displayed comedy as their selling point, and didn’t lose their plot nor did they refrain from the lessons they aim to convey.
Contrary to The Ghost and the Tout Too, the characters constantly make a cue for viewers–– ‘okay, this is where you laugh’, by spending so much time on a scene, repeating the same jokes, thus making the already tedious movie frustrating. The movie’s cardinal virtues rest solely on its comedic formula, which still lacks, despite the compelling movie concept. Poor directing and a bad script veered this bright idea off the right track. The 1hr 48min movie could borrow from the books of a thrilling movie like Whoopi Goldberg’s Ghost. With Toyin Abraham’s recent performances in The Prophetess and Alakada Reloaded, maybe she’s not just cut out for such roles.
In Neo-Nollywood movies, making unnecessary detours has become a norm; critics can as well embrace the idea with open arms since it seems the habitual flaw has come to stay. The Ghost and the Tout Too is totally ruined with unnecessary scenes and this is the area where I may mention one or two scenes, but how does one go about it when more than half of the scenes are inconsequential. This bounces back to the movie’s intent to fulfill its promise of being a comedy; this is the purpose for such illogical scenes, but do they even fulfill their purpose? No. You should note that it is bad comedy if it barely makes one smile, an example being the clash between some gang groups in the movie and Isla’s unwitty remarks and outbursts to the ghosts in the movie.
The final act of a movie is one of its most crucial parts and it sullies the whole movie if not properly directed. The ending of The Ghost and the Tout Too is inexplicable and more like rubbing salt into a wound. With the film’s final moments, it transitions from a bad movie to a worse one all too quickly and the reason for the disarray is not even understood. The ending of the movie is more of a “we’ve tried, let’s wrap this up quickly”–– the same plague that was prevalent in the first part. With two installments (and a potential third), The Ghost and the Tout Too lacks the elements that make a good movie, boasts nothing worth remembering and serves as a sore reminder that some movies should never be made, or better still, left longer on the treatment table.
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The Ghost and the Tout Too is currently in cinemas.