Tobi (Timini Egbuson) is a poor school teacher, he is the typical disadvantaged Nigerian kid with amazing credentials. He studied a purportedly feasible degree in university and graduated with high grades but yet can’t make anything of himself. Tobi’s condition is compounded by the nature of his romantic relationship; his girlfriend (Sandra Okunzuwa) is from an affluent family. Due to their opposite backgrounds, he is unable to join her in activities with her other affluent colleagues. Tobi sees a chance to improve his fortunes when he meets Obi (Junior Pope), the elder brother of his primary school classmate Kaima (Nancy Isime); he asks Obi to “teach him how to fish.” Obi reveals to him that he is into internet fraud. Encouraged by his mum (Iyabo Ojo), he joins Obi and Kaima. Tobi quickly learns the ropes and he is soon placed in charge of the operation by Obi, who leaves the country. Tobi is left to keep the operation up, with the law enforcement agency FAC breathing down their necks.
Movies and TV Shows Available in Nigeria in May
Honey Money is proof that a good story is not enough to make a good film; the manner of storytelling is also as important (if not more). Directed by Ekene Mekwunye (One Lagos Night), the film is reminiscent of classics like David Russell’s American Hustle or Martin Scorcese’s Wolf of Wall Street, as they have similar plot themes and character arcs that are not so different from each other but nowhere near even half of the organisation and attention to detail that these crime classics have. The plot moves too fast with no premises set for the actions that happen. And with poor plot development, there is even worse character development. Whilst we know that Tobi comes from a poor background and does not have much going for himself, the way the character is presented contradicts his actions; there is no inciting incident that pushes him towards the path he has chosen. He simply joins Obi and despite being a newbie in the trade, he is put in charge of the whole operation without any portrayal of the feats he might have performed to earn him that sort of responsibility.
The manner in which the elements in Honey Money are put together shows nothing of an organised director’s input. The scenes progress with no cohesion and end up creating confusion for viewers as we wonder at several instances why an action is happening; the plot jumps from detail to detail with no regard for previous events. The FAC raids their operation base, and arrests several members of their ring Tobi and Kaima manage to escape and they just move on to the next scam with no fear of being ratted out by the captured members.
‘The Kujus Again’ Review: Underwhelming Sequel Lets Down Original, The Clan and The Fans
‘Domitilla’ Review: Nollywood Classic Reboot Fails to Level Up with Predecessor
With a runtime of almost 120 minutes, the film does not properly explore several aspects of the plot that would have made it a better experience, like the actions of the FAC as they try to catch them, instead opting for random gun-wielding uniformed men besieging houses. Also, there are many scenes with unnecessarily lengthy dialogue that could have been used to explore other parts of the film instead. Further watering down the experience is the slow pacing at certain points of the film that turns actions that should be thrilling into boring sequences, coupled with distracting scores that resemble theme sounds for an NTA program. It was difficult to tell if it was a romcom or a crime thriller.
The casting for Honey Money could have been better, as the actors look poorly suited for their roles, resulting in a painfully pronounced lack of chemistry among them. Their performances might have also been affected by an apparent lack of proper direction as most of the action in the film has no dynamism and the actors are stationary for most of their performance. Nancy Isime (Superstar), who looks like a fish out of water in her role, fails to work in tandem with Timini Egbuson who is usually a strong performer. Egbuson (Breaded Life) also looks clueless as his character does not go through the necessary development that would justify his motivations and intentions. Iyabo Ojo (Gangs of Lagos) and Lina Idoko manage to give energetic performances which come without adequate direction.
Honey Money does not reach the heights promised by the kind of story it possesses. It is unnecessarily long, slow paced, with too many static camera shots and several holes in the plot. When one looks back at the film, everything could have been done better.
Honey Money is showing in cinemas.
Join the conversation in the comments section or on Twitter.
Sign Up: Keep track of upcoming films and TV shows on your Google calendar.
- Poverty is the biggest crime.
- Is the fight some sort of rite of passage?
- How is the FAC raiding a house and nobody guards the outside?
- Why did Angelina need all that skill just to spike a drink?
- Timini’s tattoos contradict his character in the beginning, and could have been used as a storytelling tool to depict his rebellion.
Pingback: ‘The Bride Price’ Review: Intention Doesn’t Match Execution in this Undefined Drama - What Kept Me Up