Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie

Rating: 2.5/4

Twitter review: Life is a party. But like most parties, there are some dumb and boring moments.

Spoiler-free review: I’m not a huge fan of the original show, though I had watched enough of it to know the kind of humor I would expect going in, and I wasn’t disappointed. This is one of those movies where you can sit back and enjoy the mad excesses that are on the screen. Even when there are some moments and characters that don’t work, this is still a funny movie.

For those who don’t know the show, the film is about Edina and Patsy, two lifelong friends who go through life drinking, spending more than they have to stay fashionable, and keep trying to live ‘the good life’, even when Edina’s daughter Saffy tends to bring them back down to earth. In the film, Eddy and Pats are now in their 60s, living in a house that is financed by Edina’s ex-husband who is transitioning to becoming a woman and who needs the money for therapy, thus the loss of the MANY credit cards Edina and Patsy used to keep themselves boozed up. Edina’s daughter Saffy has a 13 year old daughter, Lola, from a previous relationship.

When Edina’s book isn’t picked up by a publisher (primarily because Edina’s assistant Bubbles filled the book with the term ‘blah blah blah’ instead of typing what Edina was dictating about her life) and in desperate need of relevance as a PR-agent, she is told by Patsy that Kate Moss is looking for a new PR-agent. At a party where Kate Moss is, Edina is desperate to get to Kate before a rival PR-agent does. In the rush to get to Kate, Edina accidently pushes Kate into the Thames river, with some people (including singer Lulu, who is one of Edina’s clients and is pissed at not getting a promised singing gig at the party) claiming that Edina purposefully pushed Kate into the river. What follows is a massive worldwide mourning via TV and social media, with everyone blaming Edina. When Edina and Patsy try figuring out where Kate is by pushing her assistant Bubbles into the river – and subsequently lose Bubbles as well. Fearing they will go to jail, the two then escape to Nice, using Lola’s credit card, to try and find someone Patsy can abuse marry to get enough money for themselves.

The danger with this type of film is that there can be an excess of attempts at humor and an excess of going too far with absurdities. Thankfully, although there are plenty of absurdities in this film, they are spread out enough that it doesn’t feel like one long boring joke. There are enough laughs to keep the film going, and at an hour and a half it’s not too long. There are some parts that do tend to drag the film to a screeching halt, but overall this is a decent movie to watch if you need a chick-flick without being hit over the head about relationships every two seconds. Or if you happen to be a fan of the show.

 

Spolier-filled review: I was actually severely disappointed with the character of Lola. I understand that Jennifer Saunders, who plays Edina and is the writer of the show and movie, wanted to show the passage of time by adding a daughter for Saffy, but Lola is used only as a prop for this film. The actress playing Lola barely registers anything other than indifference on the screen, and she’s only used to advance the plot for the sole fact that she has a credit card Edina and Patsy can use, and to get Saffy to run to Nice chasing after her. Once those things are done, Lola is neither seen nor mentioned again (save for one brief shout-out while Edina is in a pool). I very much would have loved to see more of how Edina and Patsy rubbed off on Lola. It would have added extra laughs (and a bit of character building) if Lola would have been found by her mother in wild clothing and smoking a cigarette (I was going to say drinking, but I can understand that nobody wants to be accused of glorifying underage drinking on the screen).

One of the reasons I did happen to like this film is because Jennifer Saunders seems to have lifted some of her jokes from other films. Towards the end, there is a chase that is almost directly lifted from Return Of The Pink Panther, and the ending itself almost exactly mirrors the classing ending of Some Like It Hot. I don’t know if these are deliberate lifting of those scenes, but they thankfully work well here. And this film does seem to have a little something for almost everyone – transvestites, young women, young men, older women, and older men. If, as Edina says, 60 is the new 40, I can’t wait to see what will happen in 20 years time when 80 becomes the new 40.

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