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Did ‘Aki and Paw Paw’ Miss the Mark?

Though the delivery was poor, and the storytelling could’ve been better, the intent was clear and that should suffice at least.
October 12, 2022
3:36 pm

Aki (Chinedu Ikedieze) and Paw Paw (Osita Iheme) are legends, not just in Nollywood but on the internet as well. If you are on social media, then you must have seen how their memes spread like wildfire. Pictures and videos of them in their early Nollywood days are constantly being used for comic relief and skits. They have garnered fans both in Nigeria and abroad thanks to their comedic performances and their ability to steer up trouble whenever they link up.


After years of pursuing solo projects, the dynamic duo got back together for a remake of the 2002 Nollywood classic Aki na Ukwa. Aki and Paw Paw were a big part of the childhood of many Nigerians and with their eighteen-year hiatus, the expectation was that their comeback film would be historic, one for the books. Sadly, it fell short in terms of the plot, the dialogues, and the ability to captivate the audience.


The family-friendly film follows the two brothers who now live in Lagos with their uncle and his wife. They work at a beer parlor owned by Mummy Nkiru (Abraham) and are the typical Nigerian men hustling their way through life. Suddenly, they become social media sensations overnight thanks to a cunning woman named Samantha (Okafor) and they are instantly catapulted to stardom. With the fame came money and with the money came problems because not only did it tear them apart, it ruined their relationship as brothers. However, through the help of their family, they were able to revive their relationship and prove that brothers always stick together no matter what.


Osita Iheme and Chinedu Ikedieze

The plot is simple enough, yet it lacks substance and depth. Sure, you can’t really expect depth from a comedic film, but considering this was supposed to be a comeback for the two stars, it should have at least been interesting and worth the two hours. A lot of the scenes were unnecessary and added no value to the plot. For example, the film starts with the two brothers in a native doctor’s shrine. What was their reason for being there? It isn’t very clear and as the film progresses, it becomes evident that the beginning has no use whatsoever to the overall plot of the film.


Aki and Paw Paw has its moments, nonetheless. Ikedieze and Iheme showed their professionalism and veteran experience in the industry through their improvisation skills. It seemed like most of the comedic timings were improvised and it worked for the film. The other characters also had their chances to prove their hilarity and they did that well enough to elicit a laugh out of you.


Also, the display of the Igbo culture is commendable, especially in this new Nollywood era where it seems like only one ethnic group is hugging all the spotlight.  The Igbo chants sang, the Igbo songs selected as part of the film’s playlist, the outfits, and the village setting were a flashback to old Nollywood, and it definitely hit the nail right in the nostalgia bud.


Nollywood films always leave spectators with a warning message and this one was no different. The brothers allowed fame and wealth to cause a wedge between them and that almost cost them everything they worked hard for. The lesson? Fame and money should never tear a family apart.


It is saddening that the film didn’t get treated with the care that it rightfully deserved. Aki na Ukwa was a hit in 2003 and this should have been as well, but it skewed over in the wrong direction. Nollywood has evolved since 2003, not just in terms of storytelling ability but in terms of its audience. It has gone beyond the fetters of bad plots and unprofessional acting. Maybe the creators didn’t get the memo.


Overall, Aki and Paw Paw is good if you want to be taken back to your childhood and you miss the mischievous duo of Ikedieze and Iheme. If you are looking for a film with depth, substances, and a captivating plot, look elsewhere.


Release Date: December 15, 2021 (theatrical release); September 30, 2022 (Netflix)

Streaming Service:  Netflix

Run-time: 2 hours 12 minutes, and 57 seconds

Director:  Biodun Stephen

Cast: Osita Iheme, Chinedu Ikedieze, Chioma Okafor, Uti Nwachukwu, Toyin Abraham, Stan Nze, Beverly Osu, Anita Asuoha, Amaechi Muonagor, and Charles Inojie.

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