Not overly fabulous
ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS: THE MOVIE (M)
+Director: Mandie Fletcher (Deadly Advice) Starring: Jennifer Saunders, Joanna Lumley, Julia Sawalha, Jane Horrocks, Rebel Wilson, Kate Moss Verdict: Absolutely not
LET’S not delicately dance around the need-to-know on Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie.
This big-screen expansion of the hit 1990s Brit-com is a tired, lazy and often rather horrible effort from all concerned.
Tragic nostalgists holding on to any hope that those beloved, badly behaved partners in grotesque excess Pats (Joanna Lumley) and Eddy (Jennifer Saunders) were going to return in triumph are kidding themselves big-time.
If anything, the transition to the movie format only serves to highlight what were always serious deficiencies with AbFab as a TV show.
In particular, the 30-minute small-screen incarnation of AbFab often flattered to deceive, with a laugh track that was always turned up to maximum volume.
Without those canned guffaws to signal loudly that a joke has just occurred, a high percentage of the gags in Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie either land awkwardly, or fall completely flat.
The plotting of an all-new, yet same-old adventure for Pats and Eddy centres on the pair being implicated in the mysterious disappearance (and possible drowning) of Kate Moss. (Indicative of just how hopelessly out-of-touch the movie can be is its near-desperate series of attempts to have us believe Ms Moss is still “an international supermodel” of some standing.)
From here, the ladies totter off to the south of France to wait for the heat to die down. Meanwhile, the C-grade celebrity cameos just keep on coming. These dire walk-ons (Joan Collins! Stella McCartney! Baby Spice from the Spice Girls!) appear to have been organised by someone using a decade-old gossip mag they nicked from the hairdressers.
Overall, the movie just goes around and around the same closed circuit of set-ups. Pats and Eddy pop a pill or snort a line, say something blissfully inappropriate, and sometimes fall over.
Veteran series regulars such as Bubble (Jane Horrocks) and Eddy’s long-suffering daughter Saffy (Julie Sawalha) all get a chance to throw their usual shapes. Ghosts of jokes thought long-gone (sample: “Did you feed my Twitter?” “No. I forgot. And it died!”) reappear once more to send a sudden chill up the spine.
In what has been a glum era for belated movie reunions – Zoolander 2 is an absolute hoot compared to this lemon – Absolutely Fabulous takes the cake and sits in it.