Is Money Miss Road an Action-Comedy Worth Watching?
Money Miss Road is an all too familiar phrase. If you are Nigerian or grew up with Nigerian parents, you would often hear them blurt out the phrase when they see a trust-fund baby spending money lavishly or when they note that a “grass to grace” individual is flaunting his wealth in people’s faces, making them know that he has “arrived.” The latter is certainly what happened in this Obi Emelonye-written movie.
There was nothing short of high expectations for this movie because, it is Obi, the master behind critically acclaimed Nigerian films like Last Flight to Abuja and Mirror Boy. Did he deliver? This review will begin with the plot.
Two down-on-their-luck friends, Josiah (Josh2Funny) and Joseph (Jidekene) suddenly come into wealth and have their fortunes changed when Joseph comes across two Ghana-must-go full of cash in a hotel. He steals it, shares the loot with his friend and they jet-set from their poverty-stricken life in Abuja to live la vida loca in the vibrant city of Lagos. Unknown to them, the stolen cash belonged to T.P (Charly Boy), a crime boss who is wanted by the police for murder, money laundering, and oil bunkering. T.P and his goons track down the friends (who were not doing a stellar job of concealing their tracks) and this leads to an all-out war filled with raining bullets, car-chasing, kidnapping, and hiding inside a fish tank.
A lot of Nigerians wish to have the “luck” that Josiah and Joseph did which is what makes the plot a solid one. Though overplayed, it depicts the Nigerian mentality of “we don make am.” However, you “make am” is not necessary information because people would rarely question the source of your wealth. The important thing is you have it and you make sure that people know that you have it.
Despite the praise for this aspect of the plot, some scenes were unnecessary. One scene should have been banned by the National Film and Video Censors Board. Yes, it is the one where Joseph and his club boo hook up in his house. It was too steamy for a plot that is believed to be a family-friendly one. The plot would have still been solid without it, so what exactly was the point of its inclusion?
The movie is stamped as an action comedy. It passes the test in the comedy department because it was humorous. The timing of the jokes was perfect, the dialogue was witty, and the male leads did a great job of eliciting laughter. Kudos should go to Josh2Funny. He carried the comedic aspect of the film, and at some point, the entire film on his back. This was his feature film debut, and he delivered an award-winning performance. Of course, nothing less is expected from the comedian whose skits on Instagram made him a household name. The transition from Instagram to cinematic debut is a big flex!
The action department however could have been choreographed better. When we hear action, we automatically picture Hollywood-styled action as seen in films like Avengers, Salt, or Lucy, but we must be realistic. Nigeria is not on Hollywood’s level just yet and Obi did what he could with a minimal budget. The stunt team and the actors also did their best to get hearts racing and blood pumping in the almost Fast and Furious-esque car-chase scene that involved Josiah, Joseph, and T. P’s goons.
Maybe they could have scrapped the action and focused more on the comedy.
Praises have already gone to Josh2Funny who delivered a stellar performance for his cinematic debut. A performance that was not so stellar was Charly Boy’s portrayal of a crime boss. An actor is supposed to bring a character to life, and we saw him do that in his last performance in King of Boys: The Return of the King. His portrayal as the villain Odudubariba was flawless to the point that it gave us goosebumps. There were certainly no bumps at all in this movie despite him playing practically the same role!
Charly Boy’s character was hardly scary, commanding, or domineering. His portrayal was bland, uninteresting, and regrettably forgettable. The Godfather taught us that a crime boss should never be forgettable. If we are being honest though, the one line from his character that would at least be memorable is: “Where is my money?” because that seemed to be his only focal point throughout the duration of the movie.
The child actors should have taken a few acting classes. One scene raised eyebrows: Josiah’s three daughters, along with their mother, were kidnapped by T.P. T.P, to show that he had indeed kidnapped Josiah’s family, hands the youngest daughter the phone to speak to her father. Where was the crying? The desperation? The screaming? The sense of urgency? The little girl spoke like they were vacationing in the Hamptons instead of being hostages and mere hours from death if her father did not return the money he and his friend stole.
Perhaps she was not fidgeting because T.P was not the scary crime boss we were all made to believe.
Most times, Nollywood movies have you racking your brain for answers because of the plot holes and inconsistencies. How many children does Josiah have exactly? It definitely cannot be three daughters because his wife Harriet mentioned a son that she gave birth to.
How did Joseph make it in time to see Josiah get into the back of a truck? Because the last scene Joseph was in clearly showed that he was at the police station lodging a formal complaint against T.P.
Why did the dialogue have to spill over into the ending credits? A minute wait for the dialogue to officially end would not have harmed anybody.
Nollywood never fails to teach us one or two life lessons. Through the story of Josiah and Joseph, we learned that the pains of ill-gotten wealth far outweigh the joy. From the moment they stole T.P’s money, they never had peace of mind. There was a constant apprehension and fear that they would eventually get caught; it was stupidly suppressed by material possessions like fast cars and fancy houses in the choicest of neighborhoods. At the end of the day, Josiah and Joseph never got to fully enjoy their loot because the movie ended with them realizing that Jennifer, Josiah’s club boo turned live-in-girlfriend, stole the last bit of their money and ran away.
T.P stole from the people and the government, Josiah and Joseph stole from him and Jennifer stole from them.
Money Miss Road indeed.
Money Miss Road is far from perfect, but it is worth it if you are looking for a good laugh. Is it Obi Emelonye’s best work? Definitely not, but it has a simple yet solid plot and two male leads that will teach you that ill-gotten wealth leads to destruction.
Network: In the Cinema
Release Date: July 22, 2022
Runtime: 1hr 38minutes
Director: Obi Emelonye
Writer: Obi Emelonye
Cast: Jidekene Achufusi, Josh “Josh2Funny” Alfred, Charly Boy Oputa.