Pop the Bolli! It’s Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie!

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie (2016)abfab1

Directed by Mandie Fletcher

Starring: Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley

The Basics:

PR “guru” Edina Monsoon and fashion editor Patsy Stone are living pretty much the same way they always have, oozing questionable fashion and spending Edina’s ex-husband’s money.  When the cash flow comes to a halt (Marshall is looking to save up for a sex change), Edina suddenly realizes that she will need to EARN some money on her own.  A planned book deal falls through (never let Bubbles type your dictation) and she’s dangerously close to having no clients at all.  When Patsy overhears that Kate Moss has dumped her PR firm, she tips off Eddie, who immediately leaks it to her PR rival Claudia Bing   The rush is on to sign Kate at one of Patsy’s high fashion retrospective events.  In her eagerness to introduce herself and drum up some much needed business, Eddie inadvertently knocks Moss into the Thames.  The nation goes into mourning, thinking Moss has drowned.  Fleeing possible prosecution and guaranteed pennilessness, the two fashion divas make a run for the French Riviera.  There they hope to avoid authorities, Eddie’s daughter Saffy and any adult responsibility that might come their way.

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The Good:

Eddie and Patsy are back, Sweetie!  Oh how I’ve missed them, deranged and uncouth though they are.  This film is a who’s who of just about every memorable character that crossed the screen during the series run. Hell, even the abusive Jamaican nurse makes an appearance!   As a fan of the series, I just wanted to laugh – and I did.  The script is as clever and witty. There is no effort to tone things down at all.  I was pleasantly surprised at this. These character’s have always been far from PC, and I figured they would strip them of their edge in order to increase box office revenue. They didn’t.  From the inappropriate jokes, the rampant drug use and the constant bitching at each other, these are still the characters you loved from the series. The plot is ridiculous, but that is to be expected.  The costuming is beyond outrageous, but again, that is to be expected.  The acting is great, but it should be considering how familiar the actors are with these characters.  The directing is good.  I believe this is Fletcher’s first feature length film – though she has directed quite a lot of British television. Overall, this is a funny, witty movie.  It’s nice to spend time with these characters again.  There have always been two relationships at the heart of AbFab:  Edina/Patsy and Edina/Saffron.  These relationships follow through in the movie.  At the end of the day, Saffy is still at Eddie’s house – if only to pick Edina up when she’s face down in the gutter.  And Patsy is still her side, spending Eddie’s money on booze and drugs – which she is always nice enough to share.

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The Bad:

Let’s face it – this movie is a love letter to all us fans who avidly watched the series and just wanted to see Edina and Patsy on the big screen.   If you walk in having never seen an episode of AbFab, you will be lost and you will likely not have a good time. You are simply placed in their world with no introduction or setup.  The film assumes you know who these characters are and how they are related to each other.   While I did laugh, it isn’t as hysterical as I had hoped it would be.   The addition of Saffy’s daughter Lola is nice, but she isn’t given a lot to do.  I do feel there was too much effort placed on having as many series character and celebrity cameos as they could.  The result feels a bit like a rushed parade. By the time you get to the wedding and the car chase at the, you almost wish they had just spent more time in Edina’s place with the main characters.

The Ugly:

Just how old it made me feel.  I realized about halfway through the film that I’ve been watching these characters for over twenty years.  That made my joints ache.  I may need some Bolli, whish a splash of Stoli to make me feel better   Goodbye, Sweetie Darlings!

Rating: B

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