by Wilfred Okiche
From the stable of Diamond Groove pictures, makers of such forgettable fare as I Come Lagos and Honeymoon Hotel, comes this effort, All About Love, a sexy drama that is really about nothing, but brightened considerably by the easy on the eye young stars culled from around the continent.
Directed by Adze Ugah (Mrs Right Guy, Jacob’s Cross) and set in Johannesburg, South Africa, All About Love aims for pan-African prestige but the filmmakers have neither chops nor clout to pull it off. What they make do with instead, is a pretty enough, if trifling picture lifted considerably by beautiful sets and a story that is relatable when it manages to stay grounded.
Starring Nomzamo Mbata, Katlego Danke (South Africa), Enyinna Nwigwe(Nigeria), Chris Attoh (Ghana), Leroy Gopal (Zimbabwe) among others, All About Love tells the twisty tale of Richard (Attoh), a frustrated, out of work banker roaming the streets of Johannesburg in search of a job. He has a colourful set of characters that constitutes his immediate circle and as the minutes tick by, we begin to meet them one by one.
There is his best friend/rival George (Enyinna Nwigwe), a flamboyant merchant with a taste for baroque furniture and desire to bed every woman that shows even the slightest interest in Richard, a girlfriend Mabel who suffers from a deadly case of insecurity, another love interest who just wants to be taken care of by a man with money, and the steady presence of the best friend who will do literally everything for him.
These characters come into each other’s lives and leave in interesting ways. They pleasure themselves, provide help when it suits them, and then proceed to break one another’s hearts in the most cruel of ways before moving on to the next. The film succeeds at some point in telling a pessimistic version of love and adult relationships that is often closer to the reality than the fairy tale tripe that the movies have been known to peddle.
The sets are quite grand and it appears that the entire film was filmed around a single property, at least most of the characters’ living quarters as it must be the sensible explanation for why young men and women who are struggling to make a living live in such luxurious digs. Or maybe South Africa is quite accommodating.
The picture is clean, and the story moves at a brisk pace, even if along the line it loses its grip as the ridiculous begins to happen. The interior location of many of the sins ensures that sound issues are kept to a respectable minimum.
The actors led by Ghana’s Attoh, give a decent account of themselves and stay the course even when they are required by the screenplay, as written by Kenneth O., to go to places not entirely in keeping with the mood and tone of the overall film. The comic relief bits do not quite work out as envisaged and the film should have stuck to its dark sonmbre tone.
But All About Love works when it does and anyone searching for snappy, unchallenging fare should find themselves suitably entertained.