Second Opinion: Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie – Review


Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie – Film Review by Emily Elphinstone

Director: Mandie Fletcher
Writer: Jennifer Saunders (screenplay)
Stars: Jennifer Saunders, Joanna Lumley, Jane Horrocks

It takes a special something to make such disastrous characters as Edina (Jennifer Saunders) and Patsy (Joanna Lumley) so darn enjoyable; but since Ab Fab first burst onto the scene in the 90s, it’s been clear that the worse they behave, the more we like them. Now at their Bollinger fuelled worst they reappear, desperate to hang onto any last threadbare ties with the fashion elite they love so much.

More an extended episode than a slick film, the thin plot is fleshed out with eye-popping costume; largely irrelevant but highly entertaining scenes, such as daughter Saffy (Julia Sawalha)’s reluctant rendition of ‘At Seventeen’ in a drag club); and cameos from, well, everyone. Directed by Mandie Fletcher, who has largely worked in television; it is perhaps unsurprising that Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie retains much of its episodic, sitcom feel; though this unfortunately leads to a lack of direction.

The premise sees increasingly unpopular Fashion PR Edina (Jennifer Saunders) desperate to add Kate Moss to her thin client list, after hearing the supermodel is looking for a new PR firm. With her credit cards broken and a severe lack of ‘hand money’ (as Patsy calls cash), Edina is so eager to meet Kate at an exclusive riverside party, that she accidentally knocks her into the Thames. With an increasingly desperate search which brilliantly sends up the media’s love of outpouring emotion and celebrity worship, Edina and Patsy escape to the south of France in search of Patsy’s immensely wealthy former love.

It’s best not to think too hard about the practicalities of the plot, which is often as shambolic as the characters themselves. There are so many celebrity cameos that many are little more than attractive extras. Even the aforementioned Kate Moss provides little personality to the film despite a willingness to send herself up; so moments of brilliance from John-Paul Gaultier and Joan Collins provide welcome relief.

The real success of the film is in the conviction with which Saunders and Lumley play the central characters, and the return of most of the central cast. Lumley in particular is proof that characters can get better with age; whether she’s injecting herself with botox, or wearing a fake moustache to marry an heiress. With such a brash script (once again written by Saunders), not all the jokes land; but those that do will bring you right back to Patsy and Eddie’s heyday. It may not be a great film, or even a good film, but Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie is darn good fun; and maybe sometimes that’s all you need.



Categories: Header, Movie Review, Movies

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