Dir: Mandie Fletcher, 2016
Jennifer Saunders’s long awaited film to her smash hit T.V. series, has finally arrived. But was it worth the wait?
Edina “Eddie” Monsoon (Saunders) and best friend Patsy Stone (Joanna Lumley), are still the same fashion obsessed figures in the media world.
Older and, in Edina’s case, fatter, the pair drink their way through copious amounts of champagne, smoking and taking drugs.
They do all this in the mistaken belief that it makes them trendy when, ironically, it makes them so seventies.
A PR guru, Eddie’s agency and client base is dwindling fast due to her incompetence. The only celebrities she has are Lulu and Baby Spice Emma Bunton both of which hate her.
Attempting to lure Kate Moss as a client, Edina and Patsy hold an extravagant fashion show featuring the cream of celebrities.
Unfortunately, Edina accidentally pushes the model into the Thames, where it is believed that she perished.
Now on manslaughter charges, the two friends flee to France in the hope of starting a new life using the money of the richest woman in the world.
The regulars are all here, albeit in, what amounts to, small cameos.
At a little over ninety minutes, the film tries to pack too many celebrities in, at the expense of the jokes.
Like the series, Lumley is the real star and gets all the funniest bits. It’s just a shame, that they’re not all that funny.
A real highlight is the always fantastic Kathy Burke. Playing Magda, Burke is crude, foul mouthed and the next best thing. But there isn’t a lot for her to do and is given little screen time, rendering her severely underused.
There are characters that just don’t go anywhere and feel, as though, they were in the film as a favour. But who was doing the favour is unclear. Jeanette Tough (aka Jimmy Krankie) is here as a fashion expert but is given no lines and is in it for about twenty to thirty seconds. It’s a pointless role that bogs the film down.
Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie suffers from the same ailment that every big screen adaption of a T.V. series suffers from; it can’t withstand the longer running time.
An half hour episode had enough jokes in it to keep you entertained and, rarely, needed filler. Saunders is short on jokes and throws everything into the mix.
Being on the big screen, the script isn’t restricted and there are several uses of “fuck”, very few of which are actually funny and the film may have worked better without them, making it closer to the series.
Julia Sawahla is back as the uptight daughter, Saffy, frustrated at her mother’s irresponsibility and lack of maternal care.
An important feature of the show, Saffy was the level headed one, counteracting Eddie’s idiocy and lack of maturity. For this, she’s just a boring frump who doesn’t work against Eddie.
Several of the, usually comical, cast are given way to mundane lines of which June Whitfield is a particular case.
The ever annoying Robert Webb is the new love interest for Saffy. Staying true to form, we should be thankful that his even more irritating comedy partner, David Mitchell, isn’t in it.
It is good to see celebrities send themselves up. Stella McCartney has a great line concerning The Beatles.
But this does bring up the issue of exactly who you would call celebrity. There are an abundance of “stars” that I didn’t recognise or had even heard of.
Jane Horrocks is superb as Eddie’s clueless and not-altogether-there PA, Bubble. Again, she’s underused.
The film isn’t terrible, just disappointing. A level of enjoyment is to be had and, with it’s average runtime, doesn’t drag.
It’ll pass an evening on a cold winter night.