Sorry, dahlings, this movie’s not Ab­so­lutely Fab­u­lous

The Hamilton Spectator - - A&E - STEPHANIE MERRY

You think mil­len­ni­als are re­sis­tant to grow­ing up? Get a load of Ed­ina Mon­soon and Patsy Stone. The Bri­tish fash­ion scen­esters and kin­dred ju­ve­nile spir­its are well past mid­dle age, (se­niors in fact) but they’re de­ter­mined to hold on to the bad habits of their youth, par­ty­ing all night and swill­ing cham­pagne for break­fast — at least un­til the money dries up.

Jen­nifer Saun­ders, 58, who plays Ed­ina, cre­ated the char­ac­ters for the BBC se­ries “Ab­so­lutely Fab­u­lous,” which de­buted in 1992 and be­came a cult hit in the United States. Al­most a quar­ter cen­tury later, she and Joanna Lum­ley, 70, who plays Patsy, are still at it, as the con­tin­u­a­tion of their free­wheel­ing story hits the big screen this week­end.

The good news is that a lot of the ba­sic el­e­ments of the show re­main in­tact. Patsy and Ed­ina are still ut­terly self-ab­sorbed and clue­less. They bad­ger Ed­ina’s level-headed daugh­ter, Saf­fron ( Ju­lia Sawalha), for be­ing too se­ri­ous, rolling their eyes and har­rumph­ing dra­mat­i­cally any time some­one brings up so­cial mores. They just want to have fun, dar­lings!

On the small screen, their ad­ven­tures were mad­cap and care­free. But the movie turns what was once an­tic into some­thing closer to manic. With a throw­away plot and a pa­rade of weird char­ac­ters, the com­edy tries to be big­ger, bolder and more out­ra­geous than the tele­vi­sion se­ries, but it ends up be­ing a lot less funny.

The story, thin as it is, cen­tres on the dis­ap­pear­ance of Kate Moss, whom Ed­ina ac­ci­den­tally pushes into the Thames, where she’s pre­sumed drowned. Rather than face man­slaugh­ter charges, she and Patsy steal away to Cannes with Saf­fron’s 13-year-old daugh­ter, Lola (Inde­yarna Don­ald­son-Hol­ness).

There are still some laughs. As for sight gags, Patsy’s bizarre morn­ing rit­ual in­cludes some good ones: In­ject­ing her face with Bo­tox is pretty tame com­pared with where the rest of her primp­ing rit­ual takes us.

DAVID AP­PLEBY, TWEN­TI­ETH CEN­TURY

Jen­nifer Saun­ders, left, as Ed­ina, and Joanna Lum­ley as Patsy in "Ab­so­lutely Fab­u­lous”. A big screen ef­fort that falls short.

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