by Wilfred Okiche
From the first scenes of ‘Gold diggin’ the new flick by actress/producer/director Rukky Sanda, it becomes obvious that one is set for an uncomfortable experience. The playbook is painfully clear. There is a thread of a story, a semblance of a plot but not much else. It does not matter though as Ms Sanda has to make a movie out of her limited resources. Who says it has to be a decent one?
She casts herself (of course) in the lead as a bimbo from the upper side of town who does not have much of a life. Or a brain either. She goes through life partying, drinking and bedding any two bit hustler who happens to have a semi-hit song or film.
She also casts Ghanaian star Yvonne Nelson in the best friend role as the other bimbo with half a brain who provides the fuel to her fire, urging her on her wild-partying ways and talking some sense into her on the rare occasion. It is all stuff you have seen too many times before to really care. A more capable actress would have been wasted in this role but Miss Nelson does not seem to mind, employing her striking physique to elicit emotions in the most virile of viewers. Everything is manipulative. And exploitative too.There is a third best friend somewhere but she shows up only once. Or is it twice. You won’t miss her. She cannot act to save her life.
But do not blame her. Nobody is doing any acting here. Everyone is playing off on their public image. Denrele Edun shows up to do Denrele, Dammy Krane is Dammy Krane. You might know some dude named Sexy Steel. He seems to have some claim to fame as Sanda’s character promptly jumps into bed with him after being convinced by Nelson’s character that he is a star. Rukky Sanda is being the Rukky Sanda we love to hate and even Alexx Ekubo who tends to come out of these sort of movies with some dignity intact slums through this one.
Ekubo plays the long-suffering hunk who must fall in love with Sanda (for no conceivable reason,) apart to give her tale a redeeming arc. There is nothing to root for here, nobody to care for. The love story is inert, the chemistry is non-existent and the acting is zero. But we’ve said that before.
The only thing worth watching here is Sanda herself. She is never going to win an Oscar and does not have the range of a Mercy Johnson but she is savvy enough to understand that roles like this are what work best for her. She has a blast wearing as little as she can get away with, cursing, looking pretty and imitating Reese Witherspoon’s Elle Woods in the ‘Legally blonde’ films. She also scores some of the film’s funniest lines and shows deft comic timing. You do not care about her vapid character’s shenanigans at all but you might find yourself amused by the performance.
The first half of the film plays like an extended music video. All music, dancing and little direction. There is a disconnect with the second half and the film feels like a series of stills cobbled together to make an unwholesome whole. The screenplay is bland and has only a few decent lines of dialogue going for it. Sanda’s direction is 90’s home video style and the background music/soundtrack insists on narrating the whole story. As a producer and maybe even a director, Rukky Sanda showed some promise with ‘Keeping my man’, her first major theatre outing released last year but this one takes her 10 steps back.
– The writer tweets from @drwill20