I watched Chief Daddy again sometime during the weekend because regardless of what some other people thought about it, I really enjoyed the film. In light of the upcoming sequel in the near future, I believe a fresher perspective on the 2019 film might do us all some good. Here’s my lazy but honest review of NiyI Akinmolayan’s Chief Daddy.
The story follows the hectic funeral of the Beecroft patriarch popularly known as Chief Daddy. Like all Nigerian events, it’s nearly impossible for it to be flawlessly executed. Funeral and funeral rites in Nigerian culture bring out the worst in most families. Selfish uncles, unempathetic aunts, judgmental siblings, many of us know it’s a whole lot and quite frankly that’s what I enjoy about the movie. It brings about some of the craziness that comes with burial and makes the whole thing a little bit comical.
A few reviews from friends are often along the lines of ‘It had no plot’, ‘It made no sense’, ‘What was the point of the film?’ ‘The comedy was forced’ and it’s a bit funny because it’s almost like a lot of them have forgotten this is Nollywood we’re talking about (I absolutely hate to make that comment but come on). First off, nothing about the way a lot of cultures handle burials in Nigeria make sense. Funeral parties are just another avenue for Nigerians to party like they love to, hence the lavishness of a lot of burials.
Speaking of funeral culture and rites, I think we can all agree this is another aspect of culture that finds its way to torture women (and no, torture is not a strong word for this). In the film Kemi Beecroft (Joke Sliva), Chief’s second wife, was played out as the villain, for becoming Chief’s wife through the back door. By backdoor I mean she started off as a mistress. Regardless of the fact the rest of the famly did not welcome or deem her fit for any respect while Chief was alive; I feel the family used Chief’s passing as an opportunity to prey on her. As the legal wife of Chief Beecroft, she had as much say as anyone in the family regarding funeral arrangements of her husband. She endured enough disrespect through the whole funeral planning that I felt was unfair. I think her outburst at the party was justified as I was fed up on her behalf as well. To insult her by not acknowledging her position as his wife was utterly disrespectful and I really hope they never paid the MC his balance for that event.
I also think death is sometimes a uniting force for many families, or should be, it isn’t in some cases. Chief Beecroft had made a few unorthodox choices in his life, and they all clashed at the moment of his passing. Personally, I don’t think the Beecroft family would have had the chance to come to terms with the imperfection of their family if Chief hadn’t passed on. His death also made them and me included, realize that asides from being a multibillionaire, he was also a good father and an okay husband. During the reading of the codicile, it became quite obvious that despite his successful life, he was a present father to his kids. He was attentive to them all the best way he could, not everyone can say the same about their fathers.
I wouldn’t say the comedy is forced, but the very first scene proves otherwise. What was supposed to be a comic lighthearted start to the film, gave it a sour taste to those with high expectations. A little bit unfortunate but not enough to blacklist the whole film as terrible. Asides from that initial hiccup, the rest of the films comedic elements were quite effective.
The thing is when you’re waiting to be impressed by a film you entirely forget to enjoy it. That’s why this fresh take on Chief Daddy is important because for one I was not watching to be impressed and this review is from an honest perspective.