Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa


Reviewed by: Max Crawford

Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa
"The film trundles along quite merrily without much plot, easily driven by the tension of the original premise."

The traditional formula for making the transition from TV to film is to shift to an exotic location somewhere and throw in a couple of guest stars. Thankfully, with Alpha Papa the powers that be decided to keep the focus on Alan and the locus in East Anglia.

The upshot is, Alpha Papa feels less like a film and more like an extended episode of Partridge, albeit one with higher production values. Higher stakes, too: when a disgruntled ex DJ rebels against the corporate owners who sacked him by holding everyone in the station hostage, it's his old pal Alan who ends up as the mediator. He never refers to himself as a media-ator, but he would if he thought of it, because he's Alan.

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We neatly arrive at a fish-out-of-water scenario without having the entire cast go on holiday somewhere. Bonus. Colm Meaney puts in a great turn as ousted DJ Pat Farrell. A relic of a bygone age first seen filling the graveyard slot with folk tunes and golden oldies, Pat remains sympathetic while clearly mentally unhinged, occupying the same niche as Michael Douglas in Falling Down: dodo with a shotgun. He trusts Alan because he sees in him a kindred spirit, whereas the reality is that Alan would sell his own grandmother if he hadn't already stuffed her along with every other carelessly unattended elderly relative into Alan's Wholesale Geriatric Warehouse.

The film trundles along quite merrily without much plot, easily driven by the tension of the original premise. A few half-hearted attempts at subplots don't really stick, but they don't really need to. The interplay between characters is enough to hold interest and there are more than sufficient standout lines to satisfy fans of Partridge. This is the character that popularised the whole cringe-comedy format, and nobody does it better.

If you're unfamiliar with Alan Partridge, start with The Day Today and work your way through the spinoff series. There's 20 years of history behind the character, and you really need at least a passing acquaintanceship with him to get a handle on the humour in Alpha Papa. Otherwise you're going to be sat watching a film about a horrible man making bad puns and getting into unconvincing slapstick situations and wondering why everyone else is laughing.

It's funnier than rain.

Reviewed on: 07 Aug 2013
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Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa packshot
The hapless presenter is caught up in a hostage negotiation situation.
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Director: Declan Lowney

Writer: Peter Baynham, Steve Coogan, Neil Gibbons, Rob Gibbons, Armando Iannucci

Starring: Steve Coogan, Colm Meaney, Sean Pertwee, Anna Maxwell Martin, Felicity Montagu, Simon Greenall, Monica Dolan

Year: 2013

Runtime: 90 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: UK

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