Here is yet another one of those films about a family get-together that leads to arguing and disaster. Based on his play, Toa Fraser brings “No. 2” to the screen in an uncompromising fashion. Suffering from a formulaic story, ridden with clichés, the film has enough remarkable performances to make up for where it lacks. Not entirely, though.
Nanna Maria (Rudy Dee in another firecracker of a performance) can sense her death coming. Living in a house with some of her grandchildren, she orders them to sponsor a big party and feast, with only all her grandchildren allowed to attend. Her reasoning for this celebration is so that she may name her heir for when she is gone. Dreaming of her youth in Fiji, Nanna wants the party to be big and loud – full of mountains of food, people and music. As the family gathers together, it’s discovered that they may already be too far apart to come together. Even the members that weren’t invited but show up anyway, are at constant odds with each other and some of them only seem to care about themselves.
At the center of this ardent conflict is Nanna’s house, No. 2. After the death of her husband, the front door was sealed with some Fijian spell, creating more disputes between the family members as the day progresses. The clash of old school traditions with new school sensibilities builds enough tension to keep them at odds in the beginning, but you know exactly where they are going to end up at the conclusion.
Rudy Dee lights up the screen with enough vigor to keep you interested from everything else this melodrama has to offer. “No. 2” is noble enough effort from Fraser, with admirable photography from Leon Narbey (“Whale Rider”), just not an effort that will easily be remembered or focused upon.