Seven and a Half Dates is about an unmarried 30-something nigerian lady, Bisola, played by Mercy Johnson and the pressure she faces from her parents to find a partner and get married.
That pressure is turned up a notch when her younger sister, played by Bhaira Mcwizu announces her engagement. Caving under the pressure, Bisola finally agrees to go on a series of blind dates arranged for her by her father no less. African men are typically known to stay out of their daughter’s dating affairs but why not throw in a cringe-worthy twist for this one I guess?
The film then goes through a predictable series of one bad date after the other, each with exaggerated characters playing the cliche role of a typical turn-off on a date. That is, until she meets her perfect mate by chance while waiting for, you guessed it, the 7th date and he becomes the half date the film title is derived from.
I so wished the producers would just have ended the dating script right there and concentrated more on the hidden gem in the subplot, but alas, they decide to let her continue on with the string of bad dates even after meeting her ‘Mr right’. This made the movie unnecessary long where they could have just fleshed out a more believable story of the romance between the two leads, Bisola and James Lawal, played by Jym Icke.
As bad as the first act was, I’m glad I continued watching because the subplot to the movie is actually a story worth exploring. The subplot centers around domestic violence and explores how cultural politics play out in putting undue pressure on women to get married, in spite of their other accomplishments in life, they just aren’t worthy unless married. it is now you get to see the acting skills of the cast shine through as they are presented with a real argument to connect to.
The runaway star of the film is Sola Sobowale, who plays Bisola’s mother and delivers an impassioned apology to her daughters in one of the closing scenes. This is quite similar to the role she played in the movie Wedding Party though. The lead actors, Mercy Johnson and Jim Iyke we lackluster in the beginning, while Mercy seemed to shine in the more emotional scenes, Jim just seemed to lack the ability to summon the required emotion on his part.
A common pattern I’m noticing, especially with the new Nollywood films, is the inclusion of instagram comedians in skit-like scenes, and oftentimes each comic is given a dedicated scene to act out a version of their online skits. Perhaps this is done for marketing and promotional reasons, but I find it totally useless and a complete waste of time. If I wanted to see any one of these comics, I could just as well find them online doing what they do best. These scenes need to be omitted altogether, unless of course, the character adds value to the overall storyline.
Also, there is the weird and not-so-subtle product placement of a U-haul moving box in Bisola’s shop. Weird because U-haul doesn’t even exist in Nigeria and I could be wrong, but I doubt they would even be a sponsor for this movie. Yet they got a lot of promo with those moving boxes. lets just hope they paid for it.