Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie


Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Absolutely Fabulous
"Whenever she and Lumley leave the screen the energy level sags faster than 60-year-old eye bags without Botox."

Four years after the final series of Absolutely Fabulous graced British screens, PR executive Edina Monsoon (Jennifer Saunders) and magazine editor Patsy Stone (Joanna Lumley) are breaking out the Boli again in this big screen adaptation. Along with the fine British tradition of drinking too much and regretting it the morning after, it's a well-known fact that sitcom transitions to the cinema that seemed like a good idea at the time often fall flat, with recently casualties including Dad's Army.

But while it's true that Absolutely Fabulous is dogged by the same pedestrian and vague plotting problems suffered by many before it, it is buoyed by the central character pairing, who remain as sparky as ever. The story has the meandering quality of sitcom episodes stitched together and involves an unfortunate incident in which Kate Moss (who like so many of the cameos featured here would be well-advised to stick to her day job) is accidentally pushed into the Thames, with Eddie facing the wrath of a nation when the supermodel subsequently fails to surface. The ensuing shenanigans see Eddie and Patsy flee to France with Saffy's (Julia Sawalha) teenage daughter Lola (Indeyarna Donaldson-Holness) in tow, while Saffy and her copper boyfriend (Robert Webb) trail in their wake.

Copy picture

Watching this in a full cinema in Glasgow, the silence that greeted much of the broader slapstick and lamer sight gags spoke volumes, and it's a shame Saunders felt the need to stuff her film so full of famous faces – everyone from Joan Collins to Janette Krankie is here - as whenever she and Lumley leave the screen the energy level sags faster than 60-year-old eye bags without Botox.

She nails the character comedy, however, giving Lumley great lines to work with and letting her put the ire into vamp while amping up the pathos alongside her as a woman who, at heart, is insecure and petrified of getting old alone – the side irony of all this is that both she and Lumley do indeed look absolutely fabulous. I hope Saunders decides to write more for the screen in future but if she does, she would do well to narrow her focus and have more faith in the ability of a small cast to carry a movie without the clashing and unnecessary accessories.

Reviewed on: 01 Jul 2016
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Edina and Patsy flee to France after pushing Kate Moss in the Thames.
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