The British have a long tradition of transferring TV shows onto the big screen. ‘Dad’s Army’, ‘Are You Being Served’, ‘The Sweeney’ and others have graced the broader canvas of movie houses to varying success. Whilst some were simply quick cash-grabs, a few still enjoy devoted cult followings. ‘Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie’ should effortlessly find itself on the latter list. As outrageously silly as its TV counter-part, it leaps onto celluloid with a debauched flourish sure to make its mischievous characters smile.
Fashion editor Edina Monsoon (Jennifer Saunders) and best friend Patsy Stone (Joanna Lumley) still party like teenagers. Although now women of a ‘certain age’, their antics keep making headlines. After attending a party where they accidentally knock a supermodel into the river, all hell breaks loose. Chased by an eager media pack, the ladies flee to the French Riviera for privacy. They quickly discover new charms in the rich paradise where their style of salacious mayhem makes the locals wonder what’s hit them.
Fans of the ‘Absolutely Fabulous’ series can breathe easy. Its film version does justice to what’s gone before whilst pushing the franchise forward to new horizons. Unlike other TV to film adaptations, it doesn’t stray too far from its low-key roots and sticks to a tried and trusted formula. Whilst its first half is slower than its second, ‘Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie’ has an abundance of quirky characters sure to delight. Even those not versed with the show can enjoy it with the physical and verbal humour charging at you a mile a minute.
Mandie Fletcher’s direction gamely keeps the momentum going despite some slow moments. She certainly didn’t need to tell the cast what to do as they seamlessly slide into their usual roles with ease. Saunders and Lumley have the most fun as their eternally wicked characters with some new one-liners sure to be quoted by their admirers. The overall ‘look’ is glossier than the TV series with the French scenery adding more colourful flavour to an already sparkling canvas.
Although not consistently funny, ‘Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie’ is worth handing over cash to see. You receive more than what you may get from its TV counter-part with the film aiming for high fun. That it generally succeeds is a testament to the strength of its premise with a sequel sure to make followers of the fashionably gruesome central twosome happy.
Movie Review Rating out of 10: 7
Movie Review by Patrick Moore
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Patrick Moore's Movie Review is an alternative look at movie releases in Australia.