Directed by Mandie Fletcher. Starring Jennifer Saunders, Joanna Lumley, Julia Sawalha, Jane Horrocks, Chris Colfer.
When Eddy (Jennifer Saunders) has her book deal revoked, and her ex-husband stops paying for her lavish home, she and her lifelong friend/drinking buddy Patsy (Joanna Lumley) decide that representing Kate Moss is the way forward for both of them. Unfortunately, in her haste to talk to Moss, Eddy knocks her into the Thames and, with the world media believing Eddy killed Moss, the two friends escape to the south of France to hide out and continue to live fabulously, dahling.
THE VERDICT: It may seem as though it has been a long time since Saunders and Lumley recreated their most famous roles, but it has actually not been that long since Eddy and Pasty have graced our screens; it’s just that the comedy in Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie’ feels dated and as though it was written back in the hey day of ‘Ab Fab’, before these familiar jokes became old.
Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley recreate their roles as the hell raising, rather clueless PR execs, and they do well with the characters. Saunders leads the charge as the rather disenfranchised Eddy, who seems locked in a past she has almost forgotten, and trying to come to terms with a world in which she is almost irrelevant. Joanna Lumley, however, is the real star here, as her work on reactions and in the background of scenes is hilarious, over the top and pretty darn special. The rest of the cast reunites Julia Sawalha and Jane Horrocks with their roles from the TV show, features Chris Colfer as a stylist and liberally sprinkles in celebrity cameos including Kate Moss, Jean Paul Gaultier, Stella McCartney, Lulu, Emma Bunton and La Roux.
Jennifer Saunders’ screenplay for ‘Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie’ really feels as aged and flabby as Eddy continually bemoans herself to be throughout the film. We have heard these jokes before, we have seen this kind of best friend caper before and while this may have worked in the 90s when ‘Ab Fab’ began, there is an almost wilful desire to keep the feel of the film as rooted in the past as the characters are. As well as this, the characters often feel as though they make choices because the script told them to, leaving the whole thing feeling rather like a sketch show instead of a 90 minute, coherent story.
Director Mandie Fletcher tries her best to keep the film moving through the thin story, but struggles to make the film coherent. As well as this, many of the jokes do not land and scenes feel as though they are unfinished. Lumley’s performance is strong; Saunders’ less so and the cameos vary from actor to actor. There is a feel of familiarity and awkwardness about the entire film, which is hard to shake.
In all, ‘Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie’ is as hit and miss as the TV show was, once upon a time. Lumley shines, Saunders tries hard, but the thin story is against them from the start, as well as the feeling that we have seen all of this before.
Review by Brogen Hayes

  • emerb

    One of BBC TV’s most enduring comedies, “Absolutely Fabulous”, was first introduced to us over 20 years ago and now the long-awaited big-screen outing has finally been released. Along with Patsy and Eddy (Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders), all the main players return (including 90 year old June Whitfield!) as well as numerous celebrity cameos from the worlds of fashion, film and entertainment. These include everyone from Graham Norton, Barry Humphries, Dawn French, Rebel Wilson, Joan Collins, Stella McCartney to Jean-Paul Gaultier and more. Back in the 1990’s, this was a silly but likably daft Britcom revolving around two hard-drinking, hard-partying female hippies with a complete disregard for people and protocol. Saunders has now resurrected the comedy for this new feature-length adventure and the results are somewhat mixed, although it certainly brings some welcome light-hearted relief for a post-Brexit Britain in dire need of some cheering up!
    Patsy and Eddy are back, now older but not wiser and still partying hard. However, the lavish house Eddy won in her messy divorce is about to be repossessed, and her PR business is floundering. Her client list consists of has-been pop stars like Lulu and Emma Bunton, and the she needs to come up with a plan. So she is rather down on her luck and finds herself pretty much out of money to fund her flamboyant lifestyle and passion for champagne. Then news arrives that Kate Moss is looking for a new representative and suddenly she gets a brainwave.Rushing to enlist her at an elite riverfront party, disaster happens when she accidentally pushes her Moss off a balcony into the murky Thames, from which the supermodel fails to emerge. Accused of killing her, things quickly escalate and, as the nation mourns the loss of Kate, the two crazy women hit the continent, escaping to Cannes to avoid the scandal. While there,
    they hatch a scheme to hit the big time again by marrying a wealthy old sugar-daddy. In tow is Saffy’s (Julia Sawalha) 14-year old daughter Lola (Indeyarna Donaldson-Holness) and Eddie’s mum (June Whitfield).
    “Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie” is not completely terrible, it’s short, bright and reasonably good fun but certainly not great cinema. The film lacks structure, the plot itself is flimsy and everything has a rushed, half-finished feel. It constantly
    feels like they are trying too hard for laughs and lots of promising scenes just fizzle out and the film ends with no real conclusion. Most of the good jokes are revealed in the trailer and it isn’t consistently funny, at times I felt the struggle for jokes became pretty desperate. On the positive side, the chemistry between Patsy and Eddy does persist, and Joanna Lumley is superb, her comic timing is razor sharp. Newcomer Indeyarna Donaldson-Holness more than holds her own as Saffy’s wise-beyond-her-years 13-year-old daughter Lola. Among the cameos, Rebel Wilson scores as a budget-airline flight attendant and John Hamm, playing himself, brilliantly recoils in horror when approached by Patsy, to whom he lost his virginity at the age of 15. In the realms of TV sitcom to movie feature, it works fine and fans are unlikely to be disappointed as it stays true to what made the show work – the daft characters, their moronic misbehaviours and enduring friendships. It’s hard to watch it without an odd smile but that’s about as far as it went for me.