Alan Partridge – A Hero’s Journey
‘Aha!’ – ‘Alpha Papa’ has finally hit the big screen. Is it a case of ‘Back of the net!’ or ‘Eat my Goal!’, or has Alan Partridge bitten off more than he can chew? Is Steve Coogan a forty something man trapped in the fifty something body of another man, unable to shake off that older man? Let us see…
This is a good, funny movie. A siege at ‘Norfolk Digital’, now re-named ‘Shape’ sees Alan try to negotiate (‘I am Siege-Face!) with recently fired DJ Pat Farrell (played by Colm Meaney) who has taken over the station and taken several hostages. AP decides there’s more to gain – publicity, attention, kudos – from staying inside the siege than out – and with this, you’ve the basis for a very funny ninety minutes.
We join Alan as he’s being the usual Dick on local radio in Norfolk – insensitive, embarrassing and unintentionally hilarious. If you’re coming to this movie having grown up with Partridge, been used to Partridge, having been a member of the Partridge Family, so to speak, you’ll love the old gags and tried and tested relationships. Alan with his much-put-down upon PA Lynn, his banter with the incomprehensible Geordie, Michael, and above all, Alan’s deluded and tragi-comic view of himself. There’s a love-interest too, Angela, played with considerable comedic style by Monica Dolan. If you’re coming new to the Partridge, you might think ‘funny, but what’s all the fuss about?’. You would be wrong. Coogan broke the mould twenty years ago – and if ‘Alpha Papa’ doesn’t hit the heights of earlier Alan, that’s because the character is held to such a high standard.
This is a film with lots of laugh out loud (genuine, not ‘lol’) moments; the writing is superior to most comedies from the last few years. Coogan may never shake off the Frankenstein’s monster that is Partridge, but so what? Easily the best comedy to come out of the Greater Norwich Area in 2013 so far.