Seven and a Half Dates is a 2018 Nigerian movie directed by Biodun Stephen and produced by Toyin Abraham. It stars Mercy Johnson and Jim Ikye, with Toyin Abraham, Akin Lewis, Sola Sobowale and Bharia Mcwizu. Seven and a Half Dates is a romantic comedy with a decent amount of comedy and a disappointing lack of romance. Surely we were supposed to get more than Mercy Johnson and Jim Ikye’s cute little montage.
The movie follows Bisola (Mercy Johnson), a career woman whose father sets her up on ten dates in an effort to find her a husband.
Two Movies Posing as One
Seven and a Half Dates could have been great, if only they had actually focused on the seven and a half dates. Instead, we got what should have been two different movies; the horrible dates and ensuing romance between Bisola (Mercy Johnson) and Jason (Jim Ikye), and the domestic violence story with Bisola’s sister (Bhaira Mcwizu). It’s not that stories should not have subplots, but they should not overshadow the main plot. The subplot in this movie doesn’t take up too much time, but it seems to take up too much space. This may be because the main plot is not good enough.
Let’s talk about the ‘other movie’ squeezed into SAAHD. It is social commentary on the prioritization of marriage over women’s well-being, and they did an okay job with it. The whole situation with Bisola’s sister is realistic. The shame, the self-blame, the complicity of both sets of parents, and the abuser’s ability to hide his dark side. However, they did not show how hard it really is for an abuse victim to get the courage to leave. It would have been nice if they dug deep and exposed the psychology of abusive relationships. Oh wait, Nollywood doesn’t like to dig deep. And this is a romantic comedy, remember? Remember???
There were times when Mercy Johnson failed to convince, especially when she was expressing frustration or annoyance. Jim Ikye is just as bland, and almost made us wish we were watching Merry Men instead. Almost. The two leads have a bit of chemistry, but they did not convince us that their characters are in love. Jim Ikye did not even convince us that he is an actor. He should have been cast as one of the miserable dates. Toyin Abraham managed to entertain, and Sola Sobowale played Bisola’s mother well, especially in the end.
It’s safe to say that this is not a low-quality movie in terms of production. But from the set design to costume, to the bland cinematography, it is nothing spectacular. In addition, the narrator is the worst thing to happen to this movie.
Seven and a Half Dates is yet another Nollywood movie that doesn’t know what it wants to be. The producers must have forgotten that they were making a romantic comedy. Makes us wonder what really happens behind the scenes. Do the screenwriters hold back tears as the cast edit the script to their liking? Are the screenwriters complicit too? Whatever the problem is, we can only hope for a revolution in the industry.