Blackberry Babes is PEAK Nollywood, and I kinda love it.

Story

Blackberry Babes revolves around a group of university girls and their obsession with blackberries. It shows how much importance they have placed on the phones and the lengths they would go to have them. 

Given the name and central theme of the movie, it's pretty dated. The 'Blackberry craze'  ended in 2013 and was very prevalent in Nigeria where the movie is set. That's why the movie makes a lot of sense. Everyone who was anyone had a blackberry and those who didn't have one wanted one, myself included. I begged my parents for one and when I eventually got one, I was on top of the world. I felt like I could be taken seriously.

I don't know if this movie was intended to be social commentary and cast a light on society and our constant need to be accepted in one specific social group and have the new shiny thing,  but it does a really good job. The girls in the movie are obsessed with Blackberries and wanting to be the best, so much so they resort to fraud, theft and relying on sugar dating to get what they want, to varying degrees of success.

Acting

The acting is..... not good (okay it's pretty bad) but it's not the worst part of the film. There are some ambitious performances from Oge Okoye, Tonto Dikeh and Annie Macaulay but it never elicits any kind of reaction except unintended laughter. This is one of those examples of the acting not being good and the writing being even worse. 

You can tell that the actors give the characters personality and for that, I give them props because the characters aren't well written, that being said, the performances get worse as the story goes on which can also be attributed to the ridiculousness of the storyline. 

The accents that the actors put on are horrible. Jesus Christ, they're bad. Something that happens both in movies and in real life is that people will put on an accent because it makes them sound more sophisticated but it doesn't work. It sounds forced and in the context of the movie, it took me out of the film A LOT. 

Writing/Direction 

Where to start... This is where the movie falls short BIG TIME. The writing is really really bad. Before I go any further I have to say that I look at this movie differently than I do any other movie I review, not because of a personal bias but I have to look at how the movie was made, who made it and the intended audience. This isn't typically the kind of movie I review because I know that it's not very good and that the quality is very low, given when it was made and the work culture in Nollywood. Luckily the Nigerian film industry is moving in a better direction and the movies we're getting now are of better quality with better writing, direction and acting. 

You can tell the writing in this movie is ambitious given the context. However, the writers were overreaching a little. Especially when you take into account the storylines that were introduced that have no resolution. I will say though that there is a diversity of character. They don't all follow the exact same archetype (even though a lot of them do) and having one morally straight character cuts through the grey area the rest of the characters inhabit.

CGI/Set Design 

There really is nothing to say here. The visuals leave A LOT to be desired but I'm not really checking for visuals or cinematography in a movie like this. It was filmed on location so there isn't much on the CGI front. The locations are pretty generic, but they serve their purpose.

Score/Soundtrack 

There is only one way for me to describe the soundtrack, hahahahahahahahaha.... And now that that's out of my system, I can tell you that the soundtrack is hilarious. This movie has a theme song, yup a theme song and it's hilariously bad. It also makes numerous appearances throughout the movies and every time it did I couldn't stop myself from laughing, I will say that it is infectious and is currently stuck in my head.

Overall Thoughts

This movie is... not good, I found myself laughing at it more than with it. The overacting, bad accents, weird story beats and overall bad quality of the movie makes it very hard to watch. The thing about this movie though is the context it requires. It's one of those movies I wouldn't recommend but I would at the same time. It's nostalgic and entertaining while also being one of the most ridiculous movies I have ever seen. Realistically this is more suited for a series I do on my Instagram called Terrible Movie Tuesday (which I will conveniently link here) whereas the name suggests, I review movies that aren't very good but here we are...

Nollywood has gone through a considerable change over the last 10 years, the quality of movies and stories being told has gone up. I spoke about my favourite Nollywood movie, King of Boys a few weeks ago (shameless plug I know) and in that review, I talked about the tense moments that aren't undercut with comedy and it's overall tone and filmmaking style. When I compare that movie to this one, the difference is night and day. 

The best part of the movie is its social commentary. Having a Blackberry became a way of life here in Nigeria, you were seen inferior if you didn't have one and as soon as a new one was released, people dropped the previous one like a hot potato in favour of the new one. The movie for all its ridiculousness is accurate in showing the lengths people will go to, to get what they want and one-up their peers.

There are also 4 movies in this instalment. Blackberry Babes 1 &2 and Return of Blackberry Babes 1 & 2, but it's best to treat them as one movie. The way one would treat Kill Bill 1 & 2 as one movie. It makes the whole thing easier to digest. 

I looked at the letterboxd reviews for this film while I was writing this review and let's just say that this movie is not well received and I can't blame anyone for the negative reviews because this isn't a good movie but it crossed into so bad it's good

I'll leave a link here for your viewing pleasure. I'm not saying you should go out of your way to watch it but, it really is something to behold. 

Comments

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