Willie Ikedum’s first feature, Mummy Dearest released in 2015 is notable mostly for handing a plum role to Liz Ameye, whose career trajectory lately has been stuck in the comeback mode. Ameye who used to be queen of Nollywood at one time, played Rose Chinda, a mother of five adult children scattered in different cities both within and outside Nigeria.
Suffering from a terrible case of empty nester’s syndrome, Rose takes the occasion of a rare visit from her only son Chijioke (Daniel K. Daniel) to manifest the full wrath of her maternal instincts. This is of course, to the constant irritation of her son Chijioke and all the people around him, the most important of whom may be Boma, his girlfriend.
Mummy Dearest strayed as far away as possible from the domestic horror story that was the subject of the similarly titled Hollywood camp classic, Mommie Dearest, choosing instead to paint a warm and fuzzy tale of maternal love and the ties that bind.
Charming as it was, nothing about Mummy Dearest hinted of the urgency of a sequel but producer/director Willie Ikedum must be operating on a different level. He recently unveiled plans to turn the property into a franchise, starting with the sequel, Mummy Dearest: The Wedding which has both Ameye and Daniel reprising their roles.
Daniel’s Chijioke has been transferred to Port Harcourt for a spell but instead of moving back home to stay with mummy dearest, he opts for outside accommodation provided by his company. Rose does not takes this lightly and finds a way to move in with her son. Things get further complicated when his fiancée Boma also shows up and both women manage to lock themselves in a tussle for his affections.
Mummy Dearest: The Wedding is for the bulk of its running time, a rehash of tropes already explored in the first chapter, nothing new to see. The characters haven’t grown significantly, thus their actions are only recycled and played for cheap laughs.
Boma who was played in the first film by Wendy Elenwo has been replaced by Mary Lazarus but anyone who has seen her work knows not to expect big things. She does not surprise. The major attraction is the chemistry between Liz Ameye and Daniel K. Daniel but even that is stretched beyond limits. The plot is paper thin, and Ikedum expects audiences to reach back to the first film to dig up some residual connection with characters who don’t work for such a reward this merry go round.
Secondary characters are thrown in to spice things up but most of them are forgettable. Uti Nwachukwu is introduced to play an old friend of Chijioke’s but the less screen time he gets, the better for everyone concerned. Ikedum continues an admirable tradition of shooting his films in Port Harcourt, Rivers state with cast and crew members sourced from the area and while this helps keep local talent engaged, celebrity cameos from Big Brother stars Marvis Nkpornwi and Melvin Oduah aren’t at all exciting.
Ikedum’s directing is no frills, minimum effort and lacks any visual flourishes, same as the screenplay and by extension, the performances from the principal actors. Everything is quite pleasant, but in a boring, forgettable sort of way. No one wants to continue with a franchise if future entries are going to be as tepid as this.