HOUSE OF LUNGULA | Review

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House of Lungula, pushed as Kenya’s first adult sex comedy in the same genre as the Hangover trilogy, comes down to its final run today (Thursday 27th, Nov 2013).  Currently showing at Century Cinemax the Junction, the film boasts a good number of individuals plying their trade within the film and entertainment scene of Kenya and tries its hand at boldly pushing a subject matter that sells pretty well second only to Safaricom Bamba 50 top-up cards; sex!

Plot: “Harrison, overworked and underpaid is looking for money for bride price. A ‘business’ opportunity presents itself when he gets the keys to the Company house. With the CEO away on holiday, he has access to a vacant fully furnished house. He decides to cash in… Easy money doesn’t always come cheap.” House of Lungula Facebook Page

Starring: Ian Mbugua, Lizz Njagah, Gerald Langiri, Sarah Hassan, Helena Waithera, Lenana Kariba, Gitau Ngogoyo, Nice Githinji, Diana Nekoye, Lydia Gitachu, Auma Njagah, Sheila Kwamboka and Alex Konstantaras.

Does the film succeed with its intended mission? Production elements aside, here’s our take as we try very hard not to give away spoilers…

The Good

The film starts off well, setting the pace and story in a light yet believable manner. The major characters in the film are introduced, each getting ample screen time.  The different actors play their roles well, dialogue is simple and effective in building the story.

Smart witty lines, with expository based yet comical scenes thrown into the mix to carry the story along, the first half offering of the film is enjoyable, funny and intriguing.  Heavy themes such as betrayal, trust are touched on and well balanced so that the impact is there, but not too much to dampen the desired comedic effect…

Gerald Langiri. The man’s figure in the promotional materials is smack right at the centre of all the other actors and actresses.  That fact quite rightly also represents his role and impact in the film; he is the core of the film.  Narratively, his character does act as the initiator and catalyst for the major plot point of the film, a fact that is further enhanced by his performance.  Biased perhaps? We think not!

No work is perfect, with that said, House of Lungula does have its faults.

The Bad

The final chapter of the film was a major stretch, unnecessarily on the plot and story and our suspension of belief.  Fine this is a film, and a comedy at that, but did we really have to have the antics at the end stretch out that long?  Gerald’s character was told what time exactly to be out of the house yet he went on to be at the house at the same time as the other couples (spoiler??).  We could say that it was an oversight by the character, but was that shown to the audience?

The last act of the film feels like the story and believable flow of events as introduced and upheld in the first half was compromised just to achieve a desired effect/end.  Not just by some stretched turn of events, but also the inclusion of one certain cop character.

Yes this is comedy and one can argue that not everything should be taken seriously (if it comes to that) but if you as a comedian deliver a line and the audience doesn’t laugh, should it be a matter of concern?

In Closing

Reviewing this film on the basis that it is a film (whether local or not, we believe that shouldn’t be a crutch in any kind) made for the audience, we give it a 2.5/5 rating.

The film’s run has come to an end in cinema for the moment, we shall keep you posted on any further developments regarding another cinematic run or DVD release.

Total Score

Story
5%
Cast
5%
Comedy
5%

House of Lungula

Wrongly sold as an R-Rated comedy, House of Lungula starts off well, but the laughs fade off halfway through...
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