A Review of Sugar Rush, The Best Nollywood Comedy Film of The Last Decade

Posted on February 15 2020 , at 05:00 pm
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It is still showing in cinemas all over the country but Sugar Rush is already the fifth highest grossing movie in Nigerian history and it’s been showing for just over 6 weeks, thanks to a little snafu with the censors board. Written and produced by Jade Osiberu, directed by Kayode Kasum and distributed by FilmOne Entertainment/Jungle Filmworks, the movie follows the story of the Sugar sisters accidentally discover 800,000 dollars in the house of a corrupt politician. In the next couple of days, they spend a portion of the money drawing the attention of other parties also interested in claiming their stake of the money.

The film features Bimbo Ademoye as Bola Sugar, Bisola Aiyeola as Sola Sugar, Adesua Etomi-Wellington as Susie Sugar, Iya Rainbow as Rhoda Sugar, Uzor Arukwe as Knight, Tobi Bakre as Andy, Mawuli Gavor as Dan, and Omoni Oboli as Mrs. Madueke.

Story

This movie does a good job of weaving the character’s back stories into the dialogue and there are no random appearances. The story is upbeat, has a lot of action and humorous dialogues that go beyond the typical slapstick style we are used to in Nollywood movies. It follows a decent, albeit counter-intuitive, arc, craftily merging sub-plots but maintaining a straight line to the big plot twist.

Screenplay, Locations and costume/props

Visually speaking, Sugar Rush doesn’t necessarily stand out since most of the big Nollywood releases these days do well in this regard. But what it does have over other films is how well it did in not missing the mark. Except in one instance towards the end of the movie where Adesua Etomi’s character Susie Sugar is wearing heels in a totally inappropriate context, nobody was overdressed or underdressed in this film. On the directing side, Kayode Kasum obviously knows how to get what he wants out of his cast members. The locations fit the scenes, the outfits worked for intended purposes and the makeup didn’t look like an afterthought – altogether a very tidy, straightforward visual aesthetic. Even the visual effects were right on the money.

Performances

Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards (AMVCA) nominated actress Bimbo Ademoye had the standout performance of the cast on Sugar Rush. In playing her character Bola Sugar, an Instagram-loving youngest sibling of her two elder sisters – Susie Sugar (Adesua Etomi-Wellington) and Sola Sugar (Bisola Aiyeola), Bimbo Ademoye gives an acting masterclass. She made the character so believable it was almost like they were the same person.

Bisola Aiyeola’s performance was bested only by Bimbo Ademoye’s. In Sugar Rush, the AMVCA Trailblazer Award winner proved again just how talented she is as an actress and why she deserves all her coins. Other notable performances include Uzor Arukwe, who plays Knight, a mercenary who is also interested in the $800,000 cash; Iya Rainbow, who plays Rhoda Sugar, matriarch of the Sugar family; Tobi Bakre, who play Andy, Sola Sugar’s scamming lover; and Toke Makinwa, who played Gina, the girlfriend of a wealthy young overlord (played by Bankole Wellington).

This was definitely one of Adesua Etomi-Wellington’s poorer performances but that just means she gave a very average performance in Sugar Rush. She was completely dominated by her two-leading co-stars even though she had more screen time than anyone else in the movie. For someone of Adesua’s proven talent, she could have done better. Mawuli Gavor also struggled to make the tension between he and Adesua’s character believable.

Poorly Done Scenes and Adesua’s Lapel Mic

Of course, Sugar Rush is not perfect and there are at least 10-15 scenes that were just poorly done. When the two oldest Sugar sisters find the murder scene, when they found the money at the murder scene and the entire sequence at the end were shambolic and barely believable. The way the story played out post finding the money was also counter-intuitive – the sisters lavishly spending the money even though they know the EFCC was looking for information on the murder AND the cash. You would think they’d try to leave the country and sort out their mother’s cancer treatment first (which they eventually did) instead of going on a spending spree first. Also, for some reason, I saw the receiver of Adesua Etomi-Wellington’s lapel mic in full view at least twice. Not good attention to detail.

Conclusion

Sugar Rush is not perfect but as comedy movies go, it is a more holistic package than Chief Daddy, A Trip To Jamaica, 30 Days in Atlanta and all the other big box office comedies that have been released in the last decade. It certainly nails the acting better, nails the direction better and nails the dialogues and sub-plots better. It maintains the right visual aesthetic without being unnecessarily fluffy, which can’t be said about the other big comedy movies of the last decade. You don’t have to take my word for it though, you can go to the cinemas to see for yourself why Sugar Rush is the best comedy movie of the last decade.

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