Eddie and Patsy are back. We’re not 100% sure why now in particular, but they’re always welcome, and fortunately neither Jennifer Saunders’ feel for her creations nor her gag writing ability have diminished at all in their years of absence.
Edina Monsoon’s (Saunders) PR business is in trouble, and her client list is looking decidedly anaemic. Hearing that Kate Moss is leaving her PR, Eddie immediately sets out to woo the supermodel. This all goes screamingly wrong, and sees Eddie and lifelong reprobate bestie Patsy Stone (Joanna Lumley) on the lam in the south of France.
ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS: THE MOVIE, to give its full title, follows in the grand tradition of British TV series making the leap to the big screen with no real reason for doing so, and little more than a Christmas Special’s worth of budget to get by on. But get by they do, and the cameras a dutifully switched over to progressive frame rate.
It’s silly, unfocused plot passes up elements and ideas that would have given the film more purpose and relevance - the hunt for a missing-presumed-dead Moss completely dominates the news cycle while far more important things are happening, for example, or the increased sense of entitlement of Eddie & Patsy’s set since they we last saw them, for another. Instead it pretty much boils down to “it’s hard growing old” – which is particularly rich coming from the vacuous, superficial, freeloading, husband-leeching Eddie - but the vitriolic barbs and zingers that fly from the pair (though let’s face it, mostly Patsy) are just enough to fill in the cracks.
There’s an almost endless parade of cameos all game for sending themselves up, and nearly every recurring character from the show (though sadly not Adrian Edmonson’s food critic) gets a look-in, with Kathy Burke’s magazine editor easily the scenery-devouring standout, while Barry Humphries makes a very welcome and memorably repulsive first appearance.
Much like ALAN PARTRIDGE: ALPHA PAPA – dedicated fans are going to really love this Ab Fab top-up in the moment, but once the glitter settles we’ll be wishing something more had been made of the opportunity.
ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS: THE MOVIE is released July 1 in the UK, July 22 in the US, August 4 in Australia and August 12 in NZ.