Tell Me Sweet Something : I don’t want to not like movies. It’s a waste of my time and possibly my money. Thanks to a review copy, Tell Me Sweet Something only wasted my time. I didn’t like writing that. I hate hating things, but never in my time writing for this website have I procrastinated more in writing a review. It was homework level procrastination. I just couldn’t bring myself to speak so ill of something some people, somewhere put months of their lives into. In order to write an honest review for writer-director Akin Omotoso’s new film, Tell Me Sweet Something, I have to.
“Books are my thing!” Tell Me Sweet Something suffers from a deadly combination of poor dialogue and poor performances. Dialogue doesn’t hit the beats which would typically constitute a conversation, but rather hits a list of bullet points someone who had hurriedly taken notes on what a conversation was supposed to sound like. It jumps unnaturally from topic to topic in many cases with no connective tissue to justify it. Even when the dialogue follows a structure most of us are familiar with, it is littered with quips which were mistaken for being insightful and thoughtful but are in reality forced and unnatural. The performances from the cast are purely functional. The majority of the delivery is either disinterested and muted, especially from the two leads, or obnoxious and hammy for the remainder of the cast. Actors move robotically as if moving from mark to mark, position to position and speak as if they’d been told what their line was out of context. Emotions seem to be randomly added in without nuance or tact.
“I’m pregnant.” Given enough self-awareness, Tell Me Sweet Something may have made a passable parody film. It spools through romance cliches and tropes speedily, but with an unfortunate straight face. This frankenstein’s monster of a romance film can’t help but fall apart when the characters barely make sense. Relationships blossom despite a lack of impetus. The film goes out of its way, whether it be through dialogue or the general lack of chemistry between the leads to point out that the main characters should not be together. They appear to share no common interests, traits (other than both looking like actors) or real reasons they want to be together. Thankfully for their grandchildren, the script believed otherwise. They are rubbed together so hard in the hope sparks fly that both are destroyed in the process.
Nothing will save you now. Technically the film finds no rescue. The editing is choppy and erratic. Within the first ten minutes, there was a moment where characters are laughing emphatically in one angle only for it to cut to an angle where both are straight faced. At worst the editing makes it clear that the dialogue was stitched together from various takes and angles. The film also uses text inserts to little effect. In the film’s (flimsy) defence, there are some interesting visuals. Cinematographer, Paul Michelson, creates some wonderful cityscapes. Some shots maintain a strong visual interest by putting the characters against colourful backgrounds or murals. The film also sports one moment, late in the film, where the comedic performances shone through the haze in a Hangover esque moment.