Starring: Jennifer Saunders, Joanna Lumley, Julia Sawalha
Director: Mandie Fletcher
Running Time: 91 mins
Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie is a British film following Patsy and Eddie as they mingle amongst the who’s who of the showbiz world, until Eddie accidentally pushes Kate Moss into the River Thames, igniting a media frenzy as the supermodel goes missing that pushes the pair to flee the country.
It’s very rare for a sitcom to really translate well onto the big screen, and this is unfortunately yet another example. Whilst I think the original Ab Fab series is great fun, this feature-length edition a good decade and and a half later on from the original run’s end is far from any of the laughs that made the show so fun. With a dull screenplay and poor comedy (not to mention the cardinal sin of celebrity cameos), Absolutely Fabulous The Movie is anything but.
Now, the biggest issue with the film is that it’s just not that funny. I’ll admit there are a couple of laughs here and there, but nothing hugely memorable or good enough to get you in the mood for a great comedy. In the show, so much of the humour came from Patsy and Eddie’s excessively narcissistic personalities, as well as their unorthodox relationship with Saffy, Eddie’s daughter.
However, rather than being able to laugh at all of that, this film makes all of the show’s best qualities simply irritating. Similarly to a couple of revival episodes over the past few years, the film is a consistently underwhelming and irritating watch, because it rehashes old jokes again and again, and also indulges itself in the modern era in a way that doesn’t suit its characters or situation at all. It’s a format that seemed to work back in the 90s, but doesn’t translate well into the present.
Whilst Joanna Lumley, Jennifer Saunders and Julia Sawalha all put in the same shifts as they did in the original show, the script here just means they’re not as entertaining. The predictability of so many of the jokes right from the start makes everything feel so lacklustre, and it’s very difficult to keep interested or hopeful over the course of 90 minutes, instead of 30.
This film is in general a big mess. The script’s comedy is very poor, and the story isn’t much better, featuring a billion conveniences just to get the characters into ‘hilarious’ situations. It used to feel so organic and simple, but the plot here feels incredibly manufactured and predictable, another hugely disappointing element.
And then, there’s the nail in the coffin: the celebrity cameos. Of all the worst things a film can do, this always shows a script that’s got no ideas, and is simply relying on an equivalent of fan service to get laughs out of you. In a horribly similar way to this year’s other celebrity overdose, Zoolander 2, Ab Fab The Movie keeps throwing hordes of celebrities at you in an attempt to mask the script’s complete lack of comedic class, but it never works, and makes for an even more dull and underwhelming watch.
Overall, I thought that this was a really disappointing film. With so much talent coming from the original series, this film is perfect evidence of how a sitcom doesn’t work stretched to 90 minutes, thanks to its dull, unoriginal screenplay, poor comedy, and excess of celebrity cameos, which is why I’m giving Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie a 5.2.