February 14, 2022

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Sugar Rush Is Earning So Much Raves: Kini Big Deal?

Sugar Rush

I didn’t watch Sugar Rush when it came out last year. While seated, just before Funke Akindele’s “Your Excellency” or Mercy Johnson’s missed opportunity, I can’t remember which, I saw the trailer of “Sugar Rush” and I was wowed. I made a mental note to watch the movie. I loved what I saw in the trailer: it carried everything that a cinema movie should have as granted: Colourful fashion, rich landscapes shot from the moon, beautiful women (and a dose of flesh), banging music/soulful soundtrack, and zingers. I was sure to watch it.

Then it was inexplicably pulled out of the cinemas. I later heard loud whispers that EFCC felt affronted by the way it portrayed them and pulled it off the big screens across Nigeria. I was mad, how dare they? What happened to the freedom of expression and the independence of the creatives? But something more terrible hit the news and I soon forgot all about “Sugar Rush”. I didn’t even know when it came back to the cinema. AMVCA made me think about it again but the urge to watch it was no longer there.

Until recently. Netflix, which is no longer a parameter for excellence in Nollywood and elsewhere, published the movie on their platform and I promised to ignore it. But it was hard to ignore. Everyone was talking about it and raving about it. I decided it was time to see what the big deal is.

So I decided to watch the movie that was directed by Kayode Kasum, produced by Jade Osiberu who also shared the writing credit with the hugely talented Abimbola Craig, and starring Adesua Etomi, Bisola Aiyeola, and Bimbo Ademoye in the title roles. Gavor Mawuli, Jide Kosoko, Williams Uchemba, Omoni Oboli, Tobi Bakre, Uzor Arukwe, Banky W, etc, make up the rich cast. I think we should start with the performances of the cast of “Sugar Rush”.

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The performances of Sugar Rush cast

The performance of the three lead cast members was generally good except for a flash of too much juice and unnecessary sauce here and there. Nothing spectacular. One aspect that stood apart for me was when Arukwe goons are taking their mother (Iya Rainbow) away and Etomi rushes and tries to stop them, moving on her side, wailing. She suddenly just gives up mid-protest and spoils the whole scene. The mother doesn’t even show any fight despite been outraged a few moments earlier; and the criminals just take her as though she is made of eggshell or actually ill in real life and the director had said “easy on her”.

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But you can forgive this terrible scene. What you shouldn’t (I won’t) forgive is the performance of Omoni Oboli. I hear that Oboli is a fine actor and while I can’t prove this as I have watched a little of her – I did watch “Moms at War” with Funke Akindele and one or two other films where she didn’t exactly shake the foundation of the earth but I believed she was good at the very least. But her performance in “Sugar Rush” is one she should erase from her CV with violent immediacy. Her performance as a bossy EFCC boss is a very fine one, the kind of fineness you see in primary 3 pupils during send-off dramas. No belief, no credibility, no life. Her appearance in the final scenes didn’t redeem her.

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Mawuli Gavor’s performance is average; Bimbo Ademoye is really good; Bisola is above-average. As for Tobi, his role as Andy is his best performance on the screen so far. Toke Makinwa as Gina is a bad move. That is the worst performance I have watched this year. Acting is not your calling, dear Toke. Arukwe put in an above-average show but this turns out to be the best performance I have watched of him and I watched him in Steve “Yaw” Onu’s “Smash” for which he was nominated for the AMVCA and he was piss-poor.

Arukwe also gave me the best moment in the show when he said to Toke: “Taa, Madam, come on!” Haters would say he was prophetic about her acting career but I wouldn’t go that far. I heard someone say that that moment where Ademoye’s character farted is their best. Msscheeew.

So many holes

The movie revolves around the three girls who are hustlers in their different levels of morality and determination. Suzie and Sola both turn up in Jide Kosoko’s apartment for runs (it has to be Jide Kosoko) and meet everyone from the man to his bodyguards dead. The girls do not faint seeing so much blood and deaths (a big ask for normal girls), but assuming they are such badasses for the sake of assumption, they go ahead to take the money and foolishly lead EFCC, Jide Kosoko’s daughter, and other underworld elements to them. Everything to make the story take the direction of them being discovered would be permitted.

But how can you explain the way EFCC is portrayed in the movie? I know nobody likes EFCC but that portrayal is so below the belt. The officers’ interrogation skill is zero; the place is run like a roadside bukka with Omoni Oboli as the Mama Ibeji of the farce; the place is run worse than the way Nonso runs his computer business centre in my street. What do you mean a file goes missing in EFCC’s system just two minutes in the system? How can you cut rather than copy an important file which is also a piece of evidence? Even Nonso’s apprentice won’t make such blunder.

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The way Suzie dismisses the character of Gavor’s EFCC job is demeaning to Nigeria as a whole. She says he isn’t the kind of man to work for EFCC, that she sees him like someone who should be working in a bank or an oil firm. I don’t know how the makers of this movie thought working for FCMB or Ecobank is more rewarding than working for an anti-graft body. It is a telling moment in the film. It could have been a powerful moment of revelation with Suzie arguing against working for Nigeria and Dan arguing for. It could have been intellectually uplifting but the writers took a short-cut, lazy cut: Suzie calls Dan naive and Dan calls her prejudiced, end of a powerful matchup of wit, essence, and ideology.

And how do you explain Andy stealing such huge amount of money then refuses to leave town and waits for the women to come chase him? Even when he outruns them, he somehow refuses to get lost and the chase continues?

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And what were the writers and directors thinking with that disappearing and re-appearing car and money stunts? Insult is the first word I could think of as to why the filmmakers believed they could get away with this rubbish. It may not be insulting to some viewers but it should be to many. Any other adjective you could use for it is no less awful. You could say it is lazy, for which it is clear it is painfully lazy, anti-intellectually lazy. And when does a Nigerian politician require an elaborate party and juju to move money around? They just drive in bullion vans in broad daylight and anyone who asks questions gets a middle-finger for their troubles.

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Bank W’s invisibility is an attempt at creating a cinematic experience and it is just average. The last action doesn’t do it for me. And I don’t really understand the end. What the hell is Banky looking for?

What is the use of Sugar Rush?

“Sugar Rush” is a good distraction. It would make you laugh now and again but it is not the belly-bending movie that many make it to be. It is just good. Barely. I was hard on “Your Excellency” but it is a stronger movie and far funnier. I don’t see the use of “Sugar Rush” beyond today’s pastime. This is not a movie I would watch again. You can love the movie and rave about it how much you want but you should be guarded. Don’t push it. Don’t be like that joker online who said something to the effect that “Sugar Rush” is the best movie she has watched in Nollywood in the past one year. I have one line for this madness.

Taa, Madam, come on!

Image source: ShockNG


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