MOVIE REVIEW: Absolutely Fabulous The Movie

Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley as Eddie and Patsy in Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie.
Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley as Eddie and Patsy in Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie. CONTRIBUTED

HISTORY is filled with TV shows making the jump to the big screen, and the latest to take the leap is Absolutely Fabulous - four years after its last TV special.

After spectacular flops like Dad's Army and Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie, can Ab Fab break the trend and deliver what fans want?

Incredibly, it was 27 years ago when Jennifer Saunders and Dawn French wrote a sketch for their TV show that spawned the idea of what was to become the comedy classic Absolutely Fabulous, which ran over five seasons and various specials from 1992 to 2012.

The show remains one of the icons of the 1990s as it mercilessly satirised fashion, publishing and public relations.

If you're a fan of the show, then Edina Monsoon (Saunders) and Patsy Stone (Joanna Lumley) need no introduction. The real-life grandmothers behave badly constantly; living a life of parties, drugs, and of course, champagne. Lots of champagne. Eddie and Patsy are the original 'bad moms'.

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie opens with Edina up to her usual partying with her best friend Patsy by her side. Living at home in the chaos are returning favourites Saffy (Julia Sawalia) and Nan (June Whitfield), along with Saffy's daughter Lola (Indeyarna Donaldson-Holness).

Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders in Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie.
Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders in Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie. David Appleby

With only Lulu and 'Baby Spice' Emma Bunton on her books, and being told that her autobiography deal is a no-go, Edina tells her hopeless assistant Bubble (Jane Horrocks) that all her credit cards are 'broken'.

Edina hears that Kate Moss is on the lookout for a new PR company, and at a party by the Thames accidentally knocks the supermodel into the river.

While a nation mourns, Edina becomes the most hated person in the world, and she decides to 'do a runner' with Patsy and Lola in tow to the south of France.

As far as plot goes, that's about it, but who cares when you have Saunders and Lumley on screen?

Seeing Edina and Patsy stumble from one crisis to another while justifying everything they do is what you're paying to see. Saunders and Lumley show what a great double act they are.

They know their characters inside out, and it shows on the screen.

Lumley especially, takes Patsy Stone to new heights and has most of the best lines.

The chemistry they have between them is wonderful to watch, and fans won't be disappointed as every conceivable character returns for the movie, along with a grand total of 56 different cameos which will challenge you from start to finish to pick them all. Australia's Rebel Wilson and Barry Humphries put in memorable appearances.

Barry Humphries in a scene from Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie.
Barry Humphries in a scene from Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie. David Appleby

At one point Edina says to Patsy "Why do you hang around darling?" to which Patsy screams "Cos it's bloody fun!"

It is fun, but it's also hard to sustain laughs over 90 minutes when you have 39 episodes of a show behind you; there is always the danger of repeating yourself. It was always going to be a tough ask for this movie to raise the bar after more than 25 years.

If you're a fan of the show, then you're going to have a good time. But don't expect it to be anything other than what is basically an extended episode with a bigger budget.

The laughs come constantly in the first hour but after that the plot and fun slows to a crawl, and it's fair to say that it limps to the final credits. Luckily, by that time you've had enough laughs at all your favourite characters to justify the price of admission.

If you've never seen an episode of the show, then this movie will make no sense to you at all.

Sadly, it's not one that will stay in your memory as Ab Fab's finest hour, so just enjoy it for what it is - a swansong to some wonderful comedy characters played by two women with impeccable comic timing.

Thanks for the memories Ab Fab.


Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie

Stars: Jennifer Saunders, Joanna Lumley, Jane Horrocks, Julia Sawalha.

Director: Mandie Fletcher

Rating: M

Verdict: 3/5 stars


Topics:  general-seniors-news kate moss movies

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