Review: Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie
In 1992 Edina and Patsy (Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley) first hit the small screen in the series Absolutely Fabulous. While a hit in its native England, the show failed to take off with stateside audiences. After a short break from the small great, AbFab returns, ditching the laugh track for Edina and Patsy’s big screen debut in Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie.
The film finds publicist Edina and her alcoholic BFF Patsy back in their usual hijinks. Edina learns that model Kate Moss has fired her publicist, taking the opportunity to scoop Moss up as one of her own clients. Of course, things go wrong and with the help of Patsy, Edina knocks Moss into the River Thames. After Moss’ presumed death, Edina and Patsy escape to the south of France, where they must try to gain a small fortune so that they can successfully return to their high rolling lifestyle in the UK.
Series creator and writer Saunders brings back the entire lead cast from the series along for the silver screen debut. Even at the age of ninety, June Whitfield is still chewing up the scenery as Edina’s conniving mother. Keeping up with classic AbFab fashion, Saunders has brought a series of A-list stars on for great cameos, making the party scenes a who’s who scavenger hunt for the viewer.
AbFab transfers to movie form surprisingly well. Saunders’ writing is witty enough to sustain frequent laughs, without the soundtrack that the series carried through its twenty – on and off – years on air. The dialogue and banter between the two leads is really great, but the film suffers from a lack of plot. Of course, Saunders just needs an excuse to put Edina and Patsy in a series of cringe-inducing set pieces to yield magic, and she does just that.
In the year 2016, Edina and Patsy feel a little dated and very lost. Of course in on the joke, Saunders creates a madcap fish-out-of-water adventure that will keep audiences smiling throughout. While the plot may wear thin, Edina and Patsy are back, and they are still absolutely fabulous.