Release Date: February 10
Starring: Kenneth Okolie, Zainab Balogun, Jide Kosoko, Rachel Oniga, Kemi Lala Akindoju, OC Ukeje, Deyemi Okanlawon, et al.
Ope (Zainab Balogun), a London-based Nigerian chef returns home to take her family’s heritage – The Royal Hibiscus Hotel – and turn it into all she’s ever dreamed of. Matter gets complicated when she falls for the man who wants to buy the hotel. The rest that follows is pure fairytale love.
Ebony Life Film is deep in the art of crafting fanciful rom-coms targeted at specific holiday seasons. Last Valentine, this was their big offering. Royal Hibiscus Hotel is a self-indulgent movie that promises you a good time. Does it deliver?
The movie had healthy doses of laughter, effortlessly incited, which I really enjoyed.
Zainab Balogun put up a strong performance as Ope, which would’ve been better given proper motivation. But, hey, it was her first lead-role; she’s gotten a whole lot better since then. Kenneth Okolie tries in his stint as the wealthy but surreal Deji. Okolie has almost the same set of expression in every movie or show I’ve seen him in (Hello, Husbands of Lagos?). Well, he and Zainab have got good onscreen chemistry, which made their romance believable even in places where the script failed. The bulk of the supporting cast, too, try their best… Rachel Oniga and Jide Kosoko, once again, show us why we should still revere veterans. It’s just a pity they were cast in their respective roles which they visibly struggled with from start to finish.
I still wonder whose idea it was to put Old Jacobs and Joke Silva onscreen in none-speaking roles 😒?
And… OC Ukeje 😍! Every scene with you is gold. A pity, you got a small role in this one.
Kemi Lala Akindoju’s larger than life Chika is easily one of my favorite characters. She’s annoying enough she gets to you, and easily reminded me of Rita Dominic’s performance in the 2011 movie The Meeting. The truth is, many of Chika’s behaviors would instantly get her a sack in the real world but then, the movie’s truly self-indulgent and doesn’t take itself serious, which is what makes it fun.
Same can be said for Deyemi’s stint as Martin, and the entire plot. The whole thing feels like a badly translated super-romance novels from older times. Very fantastic.
The movie doesn’t take itself too serious; you, too, shouldn’t. It demands that you watch and have a mindless good time.
PS: The choice of Nigerian hit singles for its soundtrack was a win for me. Every song was fit for the scenes they were in.
Directed by: Ishayo Bako
Rinzy’s Rating: 2.5/5