Playing characters from opposite sides of life, Jim Iyke and Mercy Johnson make you forget whatever shortcomings trail Dimeji Ajibola's film, evoking the expected laughter and keeping you entertained for the movie's entirety.
Passport sets out to make you laugh and while it has a few dramatic moments, comedy is the goal here. This is where Mercy Johnson delivers, outshining the protagonist in almost every scene they appear together.
The story: Iyke plays Oscar, a brash rich young man whose planned trip to the United Kingdom to see his ailing mother is sabotaged when his bag is stolen by some street urchins.
Inside the stolen bag is the passport required for the trip and Oscar enlists the help of his street-wise and experienced uncle (played by Nollywood veteran Jide Kosoko) and a trash-talking semi-literate called Kopiko (Johnson) to locate the missing item.
Oscar and Kopiko are polar opposites who can't seem to stand each other. They must find a way to work together and in the course of their shared experience, they learn one or two of life's valuable lessons.
Iyke as the protagonist plays a character that we have seen him play on numerous occasions; rich, spoilt, and temperamental.
However, Oscar goes through a little character development (even though it seems a bit rushed to me) and undergoes a change somewhat in the end.
From the moment Johnson's Kopiko is introduced, it becomes pretty obvious that she is the comic relief.
I rolled my eyes and told myself, 'Here we go again. Another recycled character we have seen countless times in Nollywood.'
As the story progressed, I realised that Kopiko isn't just your average comic character. She is layered and by the time a little of her backstory was revealed, I started seeing her in a new light.
For me, Kopiko is the most interesting character in Passport and Johnson plays her with professionalism and gusto, even though there are the occasional jokes that don't land and the few scenes where she 'overacts'.
Zubby Michael breathes life to the antagonistic Terminator, a guy who rules the slums and whose corrupt dealings and lack of care for his people have spurred Kopiko into deciding to unseat him via the coming election.
There is something intriguing about the villain which is never quite explored further but that is understandable given the movie's largely humorous tone.
Michael does a good job of playing the local bad guy convincingly even though I didn't get the same vibe from his henchmen. This leads me to another talented star Adedimeji Lateef who is one of the said henchmen.
The Ayinla star is totally wasted here as I didn't see anything of note his character did besides throw in the occasional reprimand or issue a threat.
As for Jide Kosoko, he delivers for the most part in a script that doesn't really give him much to work with.
Passport has an all-too-familiar plot whose execution almost borders on the mediocre. The film's saving grace is its two lead stars, Iyke and Johnson.
The cinematography isn't on par with some of the best camerawork I have seen in Nollywood lately but I did enjoy the first chase sequence.
Dimeji Ajibola's film sets out to entertain and it succeeds in doing so. I have always prided myself as a no-nonsense critic but even I had to loosen up and laugh at some point because this is a movie one shouldn't take seriously.
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