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  Lucky His Name's Debatable
Year: 2018
Director: Fofo Gavua
Stars: Kumi Obuoabisa, Solomon Fixon-Owoo Jr, Buki Akiwumi, Jane Efya Awindor, Nenesenor Abloso, Papa Osei, Akofa Edjeani Asiedu, Fred Nii Amugi
Genre: Comedy, DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Lucky (Kumi Obuoabisa) is a student in Ghana who has managed to attain a low level of fame on social media, he’s not a superstar influencer by any means, but he does get plenty of likes and repostings. What this does not translate to, however, is money: he is more or less broke, with not even the rent he needs for his apartment to his name. When his mother refuses to bail him out, he thinks he will find alternative arrangements, and turns to his best friend Wadaada (Solomon Fixon-Owoo Jr) for assistance...

After all, Wadaada is a mover and shaker who knows how to make a pretty penny when push comes to shove, and they hatch a scheme to sell an ever-so-slightly dodgy laptop to an ex-girlfriend of Lucky's, Pamela (Buki Akiwumi). In a style typical of the film - which is a comedy - she is something of a caricature of a modern young woman, for instance the reason she split up with our hero is that she went through a bi-curious phase so basically, he found her in bed with another woman, enough cause to dump her there and then.

Ghanian comedy is not the first genre that most people go to for entertainment, except presumably in Ghana, but director Fofo Gavua managed to secure some international attention for this, his debut effort, not bad going as African cinema outside of the continent did not exactly enjoy a huge following, probably thanks to it relatively meagre budgets. You may have heard of Nigeria's Nollywood, for example, but had you seen many of the films from that country of origin? So it was with Lucky, but Gavua had one big idea to make it universal.

That was the mobile phone, a technological phenomenon that had spread across the globe like wildfire and the preponderance of characters staring at or typing into their little screens was so common in this movie that you imagine most watching it would be able to relate. If you spend most of your waking life with phone in hand, checking your messages or seeing how many likes you have amassed, you would recognise yourself in the behaviour of these folks, who were frankly addicted to the online world. A telling scene early on saw Wadaada dutifully listening to his father on the subject of religion...

But Wadaada and his generation have their own religion, their worldwide cult of technological self-obsession, and this appeared to be the point of the exercise, relatively brief as it was, to show how much the phone culture had affected relationships and interaction. When Lucky gets a date with Nuttifafa (Jane Efya Awindor), who is a hundred times more influential online than he will ever be, it is the phones that hook them up, and the phones that will ultimately be their undoing, though there are other factors as well, as the protagonist does not live up to his name. Interestingly, the British character is shown to be a gangster far too keen to pull a gun on people, but as noted, most of characters here were depicted as figures of fun until a bizarrely violent ending that felt out of place with the comparatively lightness of what went before. So, not hilarious, but full of energy nonetheless. Not to be confused with Harry Dean Stanton's swansong.

[Lucky is released on digital platforms May 10th 2021.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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