December 2, 2022

Without lingering, the writer dives right into juicy details that engage the audience, therefore delivering on their promise to bring some mind-blowing content to our screens…

By Blessing Chinwendu Nwankwo

If there is anything Niyi Akinmolayan and his team did, it was keeping their promise to bring controversial and steamy scenes to our screens. A friendly piece of advice: don’t see Hey You! alone. It is perfect for a movie date night and certainly comes with many notable tips and exposure on how to spice up your love life. Although rom-com is a genre that effortlessly excels in Nollywood, Hey You! does greatly with cast and production.

Subjectively, beyond the fantastic sound and ambience in Silverbird Cinema, the best part of the movie was watching the amazing duo of Timini Egbuson and Efe Irele’s chemistry as they express their characters, Abel and Bianca.

Released on July 29th, 2022, Hey You! is Uyoyou Adia’s second directorial debut, and judging from the list of ongoing productions in Nollywood, it might as well be the steamiest for the season.

The movie, just like Biyi Bandele’s Fifty, serves real-time steamy scenes, and although imperfect, it does meet a level of expectation, enough to keep an audience engaged and entertained.

Hey You stuns the audience with its maximisation of a limited cast. With Egbuson and Irele as lead actors, it also features Stan Nze, Temitope Olowoniyan, Rotimi Salami, Miriam Peters, and Seyi Awolowo.

In Hey You!, Abel, a 32-year-old software designer, is shy about meeting women, and will rather hide behind keypads as a fan-only user, watching red-room models and jerking off to their kinkiness. On the other slide is Bianca, a caregiver at an orphanage who doubles as an adult model on a +18 site, to which Abel is a subscriber.

Upon joining a premium package on her modelling site, her expectations are overwhelmed as subscribers make demands she isn’t prepared for. Ready to ride on her fears, she accepts a new video chat with a subscriber, but on the verge of pleasing a client to avoid getting penalised by the site, her power is cut. In a bid to make things right with the said client, she visits a neighbour’s house to power her gadgets. Unknown to her, he is the client. A friendship soon starts between the two and becomes even steamier after Abel’s discovery of Bianca’s double life. He decides to stay involved.

If the situation sounds ridiculous, that’s because it is. But that does not make it believable. Nigeria being a patriarchal society, doesn’t encourage sexually active women, as opposed to men. Yet, upon discovering Bianca’s dirty secrets, Abel goes ahead to initiate a relationship between them, one that lets him both into her world and her bed.

However, many of the movie’s scenes seemed unlikely, but not impossible. The film, clearly marketed as fiction, is written with originality but is not based on Nigerian reality. And although occasionally overdone, the character of Nze brings humour to our screens at intervals to lighten the blow of tense conversation. Following his outstanding performance as Buntus in Prophetess, it is undeniable that comedic roles come easily to Nze. In true Nollywood fashion, he is likely to be typecast in more of those comedic roles.

Hey You! has no dull moments or any scenes that are overly annoying. If the movie begins to feel so serious, there is a steamy session that reminds “single people” of their sad reality and fallback in the relationship department. As detailed as these sessions are, they are backed by an even more amazing soundtrack collection. The soundtrack in the movie plays a special role in setting the right mood and does the good job of creating magical moments and lifting the mood.

Furthermore, the execution of the movie is smooth, and the message is clear. Without lingering, the writer dives right into juicy details that engage the audience, therefore delivering on their promise to bring some mind-blowing content to our screens.

The movie introduces a shy Abel, who acts unsure of what to do when he’s in a confined space with Bianca. Watching Egbuson act clueless is a fresh view. We never thought it would turn out so well, especially since he is constantly typecast into an arrogant playboy narrative, just as in his role in Dinner at My Place, where he plays a sweet but unsure man in love. Watching clueless Abel is a sweet view, but the script fails to show his motivation or purpose outside of Bianca. It felt mostly like his character begins and ends with her.

More importantly, Irele perfects and excels in both of her lives. She balances both well. However, it soon comes crashing down. Irele is a natural, and her obvious chemistry with Egbuson—an equally great actor who is clearly a perfect fit for this role—is the type that resonates with the “God, when?” element in the minds of Nigerians. Soon enough, Bianca’s ex/childhood sweetheart, Habib, played by Awolowo, surfaces. Serving a first impression that implies he is rich and arrogant, one is likely to misjudge his character, who is not just subtle and loving but fragile, too. After the fight between Bianca and Abel, tearing them apart, even while in Habib’s arms, all Bianca did was think about Abel.

Although there are many subplots in the movie, thankfully, the story is not lost. I had already begun to applaud the script for being peculiar, before the cliche ending of “love conquers all” kicked in. However, this does not take away the excitement of the movie, which takes a slow yet steady pace through the path of character development.

Sadly, the movie is plagued with unresolved subplots. Starting off as a brilliant move, the inability to reconcile the scripts punched loopholes in it. You may probably not notice any of these flaws as they barely affect the delivery of this content. And also, you may be carried away by the sexual tension oozing from your screen. Checking mind-charts from the last few years, Hey You! is probably the boldest production weighing in on the execution of its sexual content. With good cinematography, soundtrack, and lighting effects, it creates a targeted image in the viewers’ minds.

Without a doubt, Hey You! is worth a trip to the cinema, preferably with a pair. It is a properly put-together piece, co-produced by Niyi Akinmolayan and Victoria Akujobi. The movie is better experienced than narrated.

Rating: 4/5  

 

Blessing Chinwendu Nwankwo, a film critic, beautician, and accountant, currently writes from Uyo, Akwa Ibom State. Feel free to drop your opinion in the comment session below, and connect with her on Instagram at @bee_patrick_

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