Movie Title: Aki and Pawpaw
Year of Release: Cinemas – December 2021; Netflix – September 2022
Director: Biodun Stephen
Production Company: Play Network Studios
Cast: Osita Iheme, Chinedu Ikedieze, Uti Nwachukwu, Amaechi Muonagor, Toyin Abraham, Charles Inojie, Jessica Blessing Obasi, Stan Nze, Sam Uche Anyamele, Anita Asuoha (Real Warri Pikin), Chioma Okafor, Beverly Osu, Juliet Ibrahim, Hanks Anuku, Michael Sani, and Stanley Chibunna (Funny Bone).
Aki and Pawpaw is a comedy-drama about two brothers, Aki (Chinedu Ikedieze) and Pawpaw (Osita Iheme), who moved to Lagos in search of greener pastures. They find themselves living with their uncle while they work at a bar. Their comical nature brings them to the attention of Samantha (Chioma Okafor), a content creator/marketing executive looking for a way out of the clutches of a toxic/selfish boss. Samantha helps the brothers to find fame and fortune, which soon becomes a snare to their relationship.
Most Nigerians still remember the famous 2002 Aki Na Ukwa drama, which thrilled viewers with the antics of the impish Aki and Pawpaw duo. Many other comedy dramas featuring both characters followed Aki Na Ukwa, earning Iheme and Ikediezie a favoured spot in Nigerian memes. So, seeing both actors reunited on set for an Aki Na Ukwa remake/sequel sounded like a good thing until one spares over 120 minutes to watch Aki and Pawpaw.
Asides from the genius acting of Uti Nwachukwu, Chioma Okafor, Beverly Naya and Sam Uche Anyamele, Aki and Pawpaw did not have much going for it. The storyline of two brothers getting a large following and becoming influencers after just two skits, which were not even funny, was a bit farfetched.
It was also clear that Iheme and Ikedieze were not quite comfortable acting as the hustling boys looking for fortune to shine on them. They were more comfortable as the big influencers who were being courted by different companies. This may be related to their current real-life statuses. Their acting overall had a lacklustre quality to it.
Another area where Aki and Pawpaw did not quite shine was in the comedy. For a film that was marketed as a comedy-drama, it failed to deliver a witty line or scene, the line-up of comic actors notwithstanding.
Aki and Pawpaw is not the best from Biodun Stephen, who is known for more funny dramas like The Breaded Life and Picture Perfect. We can only assume that she did what she could with the script she had.
Where the film did shine was in editing, cinematography and costume.
While Aki and Pawpaw the movie had some good moments, it would have you questioning your recollection of the mischievous Aki and Pawpaw twosome.