Funke Akindele is one nollywood actress whose name is not strange to a high percentage of lovers and followers of the Nigerian Movie industry. However, I would like to believe she gained a lot of prominence with the movie; “Jenifa”. In fact, most people probably still do not know her name and still address her as “Jenifa”, the name of the character she played in the movie. At the time of its release and even till today, the “Jenifa” story was quite a very highly relevant story in the society. Jenifa was simply a story that described the depressing level of “wannabism”, discontent and vain competition that existed within the Nigerian System, most especially the tertiary education system. Students with humble backgrounds trying too desperately to be people they were not, perhaps because their environment did not expressly allowed them to express themselves. With a touch of relatable comedy, which the defective spoken english of the lead character provided, most Nigerians, including myself, had no choice but to give the Jenifa Story a thumbs up.
I personally feel, with no prejudice to the future, that Jenifa is perhaps the biggest creation of Funke Akindele. I have a hunch that even Funke and some other artistes in the industry recognise this fact as since the very first Jenifa movie, she and a number of artistes have either tried to reinvent or reportray the Jenifa story but then, only a few have been able to even try to match up on some relative standards and so when I heard of another of such attempts, this time from Funke Akindele herself, I was not as motivated to see the movie.
I simply wondered why we would be interested Jenifa’s diary about eight years after we we met Jenifa herself. So, in my mind, I had dismissed any intentions of watching another boring sequel of Jenifa. However, I got mixed reviews from friends and colleagues whom had seen the sitcom; while some were of the opinion that Funke Akindele was merely trying to hard to crawl back into the limelight, some others believed that Jenifa’s Diary was actually a sitcom worth viewing. For review’s sake and following a need for me to escape my stolid reality for a while, I saw Jenifa’s Diary. As was expected, the sad and sardonic use of the English Language by Jenifa remained constant in Jenifa’s Diary. However, I simply noticed that unlike the usual comical touch it usually added to the movie, Jenifa’s depressing Spoken English sometimes acted as a major buzz-kill. I simply found that she sometimes tried to hard to wrongly speak English. But then again, it could be simply because the idea of making jokes with bad English is not as totally strange again in the Nigerian system.
However, I believe, Funke Akindele has finally found a way to recreate the Jenifa Story in a workable continuum. With the introduction of new faces; Uba Micheal (Ogbolor), Folarin Falana (Falz), Omotunde Adebowale (Lolo) and a host of some other good actors, she has been able to evolve the Jenifa Character from the desperate wannabe with humble backgrounds to the repentant young adult who wants and now has to hustle her way to achieve education and consequentially success. But the again we can continue to write reviews all we want, Aunty Funke is making her money...