Movie Review: Guilty Pleasures

Posted on December 01 2009 , at 06:30 pm
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 guilty pleasures

By Joy Isi Bewaji

There is something extremely gratifying about Ramsey Noah. Whether as a doting husband to Genevieve Nnaji,  a suspicious boyfriend to Dakore Egbuson, or a vindictive friend to Kunle Afolayan, Ramsey’s unfeigned talent is simply admirable.

Last Saturday, I took a drive to the Cinema with a handful of friends to watch, well,  nothing  in particular; until we picked the movie brochure and saw ‘Guilty Pleasures’, the new movie by Desmond Elliot and Emem Isong. Feeling truly patriotic on a hot afternoon, we ignored all the Hollywood hunks and settled for Good ol’ Nollywood Ramsey and Majid, with a dash of Mercy Johnson and Omoni Oboli.

Filing into the theatre, and not so sure if we’d come out and shoot the brains out of the sales clerk at the counter for ‘stealing’ N7,500 (for five tickets) for a shabby movie, our hearts heaved in anxiety and I was certain everyone was praying this Nollywood voyage does not kill our spirit at the end of the day.

A friend whispered, as if reading my mind, ‘but Joy, we can buy this film later for only N200 and watch it on my flat screen nah!’

Too late, we were already seated with sugar-coated popcorn bags, eagerly waiting for the experience to begin.

Omoni Oboli’s ‘contact-lensed’ eyes flushed the screen and the whirl-wind towards a beautifully well-told, well-acted story began.

It is nothing new really. ‘Guilty Pleasures’ tells the tale of a restless, jobless, ex-model wife to a busy executive whose idle hands find some occupation in the bounds of her husband’s younger brother’s underwear!

Majid is the youthful younger brother, full of zest who just arrived Nigeria after a stint abroad to grow his photography business…Ramsey is the husband who finds enough time to kiss his wife goodbye before heading out to business meetings away from town every other day…and his wife is, at first glance, a not too impressive beauty, but as the movie progresses, you fall in love with something about this woman. I am yet to dig up more facts about her, but if this is her debut to the Wood, then we can all get ready for a vixen as impressive as Catherine Zeta-Jones!

She was born to play this part; the slutty, forced-into-sophistication wifey who misses her days as a street-chick, hangs out with friends who drool over the male specie like they are going out of existence, wears bare-it-all costume around town, and is as comfortable with her vernacular as The Queen of England would be with English.

What you would love about ‘Guilty Pleasures’ is in the finesse of the characters, the subtly unravelling of the true story, and the absence of unnecessary or unplanned flashbacks like badly patched trousers (see ‘Distance Between’). Moments of anticipation are captured in such flawless perfection; and gosh, Ramsey who has managed to grow above the Nollywood ‘ahs’ and ‘nays’ into a more ‘Hollywoodic’ gesture of expertise launches the movie into realms of fulfilment.

If you watch Majid kiss his brother’s wife; it is probably the most seductive kiss you’ll ever see (immorality is always such vile charm!). And when you observe the pain of a husband in the eyes of Ramsey (oh Ramsey…) you’ll realise some stars in Nollywood have grown bigger than the parlance they are made to prance about in!

Kudos to Desmond Elliot, and Emem Isong; the lady manages to produce above-average movies, now her hard work over the years is looking really good on screen.

But, I shall not ignore the obvious flop of the movie.

Mercy Johnson remains the vixen we all love to watch. As a matter of fact, apart from Ramsey’s pin-up which I would like to have in my bedroom so I get to kiss it every morning (like Elvina Ibru does to Dbanj’s in ‘Letter to a Stranger’), Mercy is one act who draws me towards any movie I have to watch. Her flawless interpretation is unrivalled and you, most of the time, forget you are watching something far from reality. She is good. Can I say that in another term? She is overwhelmingly believable like a character in a ritzy Jackie Collins novel!

But the plot where she plays alongside Omoni Oboli and a young character who makes no impression on me, is totally mindless! So she ruins a six-month marriage with a silly, clueless young Casanova who seems extremely dull and would need to count his toes if asked what 6+5 would be. What’s the story there?

The film would have worked without that part, yet you can’t help but admire Mercy at work. I mean, the girl was born to be a star even if she still needs to visit the spa regularly! Love her!

Lest we forget, the movie actually started like a narrative, with two women chatting at the airport about their love and lives…but they never got back to that scene. Silly over-look.

Whilst it wasn’t the Premiere of the movie, the hall was packed. Folks couldn’t keep their mouths shut as all the appropriate ‘ooohs’ and ‘aahs’ went with every seductive, sinful, sexy scene.

And while I wiped a tear for finally admitting I have a crush on Ramsey, the hall broke into applause as the movie that is yet to be beaten winds to an end!

PS: I loved Figurine. Who wouldn’t? The buzz went on for weeks. But Guilty Pleasures is my kind of movie. Read my book or any of my short stories and you’ll know what I mean *wink*

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Comments (15)

  • See, when it comes to nollywood ‘movies’,I m the biggest cynic going. My wife can attest to this..she says I always have to look for a reason not to like the movies.However, that’s besides the point. I stumbled on your review and just decided to have a quick read and I most say it was such a good read….. tho I don’t share your crush on Ramsey (as his wife and my wife might object to it Your review seems to present a balanced view of this movie and I am actually going to watch it just off the back of your recommendation but maybe not at the cinema as I can’t stand the ‘commentaries’. Love your work!!!

  • Wow! What a fantastic review! You simply hit the nail on the head! Wonderful film! Wonderful actors! Ramsey like fine wine continues to mature and taste sweeter and sweeter with age! He's now officially my secret heartthrob! teehee!

  • Nice review. I was fortunate enough to watch this movie in the US and was like, "wow."

    You guys just raised the bar in Nollywood. Can it be maintained?

  • mine oh mine!! Mr Noah did it for me in dis movie and he deserves every award in this category…i knew he was in there waiting to show up…niaja movies almost sterotyped him but thank God for ds movie and relaoded. Thank u Mr Noah, i use(D)to be ur greatest CRITIC, now i am happy to just CRITIQUE ur work as an artist u indeed HAVE ARRIVED!! THANK YOU.

    Miss Ikpe , our vixen, WELL DONE, WE ARE PROUD OF YOUR WORK.

    I wondered about the end too as the narrative just hung??? Emem….for that flaw u may now have a good reason to assemble dis great team of urs again…WINK!

    kiss scene, facial expressions, perfect….guys!! Thank you mercy for holding the scene together!!

  • I distributed Guilty Pleasures DVD in my US stores and my online store @ when it was released in the US market a couple months ago, and though I never always have time and truthfully the stomach to watch a whole lot of these the movies I distribute as my company markets African movies in the US as well as retails and wholesales all African movies DVD's released in the US market.

    And of course being a fan of Emem Isong's works since her days with Reemy jes Production… So as soon as I got my batch shipment of Guilty Pleasures, I popped opened the first carton of a hundred DVD I could reach and grabbed hold of the first DVD pack, opened it and slotted it into my office DVD player and sat down with my wife to either be disappointed or ehneee….

    I think we were treated to what we both considered our obvious nomination as the best Nigerian movie picture of year so far and the years are almost ended.

    As some one who's built a business in the United States selling the African and especially the Nigerian brand of movies to a market that's 90% non Africans (African in Diaspora) I professionally have to look beyond the greats stories told by most of these works and a whole lot of fine actors and of course actresses of whom Ramsey and Nse are some of the best, but also look at the act of telling these great stories by these great actors and of course actresses which is the act of making motion pictures, A symphony of using a script, actors, sound, light and of course a camera to simultaneously tell a story that will not bore one to death.

    Having spent a great part of my interactions with my non Nigerian customers trying to explain away the obvious flaws in the production of African movies, this movie was a welcomed departure.

    While this is far from being our SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, it’s a step in the right direction, it’s a shame it was not properly marketed in the United States because we missed an opportunity to expand a market to new audiences that only really good pieces like Guilty Pleasures provide.

  • I respect Joy Bewaji a whole lot but they way she paints this picture is unbelievable but the even the good reviewers have an off day once in a while. To even mention the movie Figurine in the same sentence as Guilty Pleasures is sinful. I watched this film in the first week of it's release, and there were only 5 people in the cinema. I should have waited to watch the film for N200. The only thing to celebrate was Ramsey Nouah's acting. He made Majid Michel look like so ordinary it was pathetic. But hey years of experience no to joke.

    To the discerning eye, it is obvious that this was two films patched together to make one movie and the only thing that links them is an awkward narrative style provided by Omoni Oboli and Nse's character. The grade and style of shooting and the light is even different. All i could do was shake my head. I will review this movie as well but suffice it to say that GUILTY PLEASURES IS NO FIGURINE MS. BEWAJI

  • @Noholdsbar

    At least Emem produced a film that was adjudged good enough to show in the cinemas. What have you done? Useless nonetity like you that has done nothing to contribute to your society except cricize and complain! Go get a life! Your mates are making movies while you sitting in one corner obviously jobless and jealous! Emem and all involved in the film have more talent and spunk than you could ever dream of having! Write your useless 'review' and let us see it. We are waiting…Rubbish person!

  • Joy dont mind her! Noholdsbar na one bad belle FAILED writer who is seeking for her 15 seconds of fame! She's got nothing on you! we were in the hall and at the premiere and the place was packed to full capacity! No sitting or standing space so I dont know what she is talking about… maybe the one she went to watch was in her hallucinating state because she is obviously on something! Fake retard!

  • Thank you for this reiew Isi, it sent me to the cinemas and I have no regrets.I thoroughly loved it apart from the beginning which I found a bit slow. The rest was very exciting and got me screaming all the way through. The major acts were all superb. I also enjoyed Figurine. Watched both movies at the cinemas and except if viewers were pretending, we were all screaming particularly at Guilty pleasures for the simple reason that people love sex.

    @noholdsbarred, you're obviously very bitter but bitterness leads only to the grave. You should try other ways of bettering your life instead of taking out your frustrations on others. It makes you look bad.

    As Sefi Attah once said to her critiques, at least she's getting published and winning awards, what are they doing? So I'd say the same, Emem and Desmond are producing movies and winning awards(and making huge profit) what are you doing?

    You could transfer some of this your energy into Agriculture or Polictics in Nigeria. God knows it needs help. That way you'd be doing somethhing useful and may leave a legacy for your kids. Or is this what you want to tell your children, that you spent most or all of your life hating on other people's works and contributed nothing to society?

    I understand your pain, It can't be easy dealing with other people's success' but bitterness only hastens your journey to the grave.

    Cheer up darling, life's not so hard.

    Congrats to all of you guys making waves in Nollywood. God bless you and make you better with each day and each work. Even the sky is not the limit.

    Nollywood for life.

  • Noholdsbar is a FAILED actress that Emem probably rejected for a role!! She wants to grind her axe her on a better person's website! Why dont you go back to naijrules that FAILED website that is a cesspool of hate and envy. You and your miserable ilk are better of there! Dont come and poison better folk here with your venom! Razzzzz-matazz!

    Joy sorry o! But some people need to be taken down a peg or two!

  • why are u peeps answering "NOHOLDSBAR", its her opinion and if u have seen the movie u know its not true. besides its interesting to note that in this post of ours SHE/IT is hiding behind the no name category unlike the rest of us…..

    Emem knows this movie was good by all the rave its made, the nominations that are in the air..etc. we know its good, we are writing post about it.

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