FlixChatter Review – Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie (2016)

AbFabMovie

Absolutely Fabulous (AbFab for short) is one of the most popular British comedies in the early 90s. I’ve only watched it sporadically, but I love the wacky humor of the two champagne-loving, fashion-obsessed duo Edina/Eddie & Patsy. The comedic style is in the vein of Vicar of Dibley starring Dawn French, not surprisingly, the AbFab sitcom is based on the 1990 sketch comedy French & Saunders, the other half being Jennifer Saunders.

When I heard last year that the movie version in the works, my initial thought is how it’d translate on the big screen, especially the fact that it seems two decades too late. But y’know what, I was up for seeing the shenanigans of two BFFs Eddie (Saunders), a London PR exec, and Patsy (Joanna Lumley), a fashion magazine editor. Despite the fact that it’s inherently challenging to adapt a movie based on a half-hour sitcom, I was hopeful because Saunders wrote the script and Mandie Fletcher, who’s directed some episodes of the TV show and other British comedies, was at the helm. Unfortunately, the script just didn’t have a compelling enough story to justify this movie’s existence. It pays homage to the series, but the perhaps it’s more suitable as a one-hour holiday special.

AbFabMovie_still1

The script by Saunders just doesn’t have a compelling enough story to justify this movie’s existence. It’s perhaps more suitable for a one-hour holiday special. The premise of the movie revolves around the supposed demise of supermodel Kate Moss, and the movie relies on a whole bunch of celebrity cameos. Jon Hamm, Graham Norton, Stella McCartney, Jerry Hall are just some of the names I recognize. Hamm’s scene is funny but it’s already in the trailer, and the bits involving Jerry Hall is just so strange and not all all comedic. Dawn French also had a brief cameo, but I wish she had a bit more screen time. The funniest cameo for me is Rebel Wilson as the exceedingly-unhelpful flight attendant.


The two main characters are pretty much the same as in the sit-coms. They’re over-privileged, glitz-and-celebrity obsessed middle-aged women who absolutely refuse to grow up. On paper they’re hard to like but yet Saunders & Lumley have a certain eccentric charm about them that makes them so watchable. Interestingly, Eddie & Patsy’s self-delusion of grandeur and narcissism is pretty much a reflection of today’s selfie-obsessed culture. There’s some amusing moments about social media and people’s obsession with it. It’s even reflected in one of the many crazy outfits, such as the one worn by Eddie’s assistant Bubble (Jane Horrocks), but the social commentary on it aren’t explored much here.

AbFabMovie_still2

I suppose it’s naive of me to expect some kind of depth and emotional resonance from an AbFab movie, but they could’ve deepen the characters or expand some of the themes a bit. Instead, all we get is one preposterous gag after another that produces less laughs as the movie goes on. The banter between Eddie and her responsible daughter Saffy (Julia Sawalha) is one of the funniest bits in the TV series because they’re such polar opposites. In this movie, Saffy is divorcee with a teenage bi-racial daughter Lola (Indeyarna Donaldson-Holness) and there’s a weird joke about her ex being back in Africa that’s daft and tone deaf. The whole mother-daughter relationship between her and Lola is so half-baked and just plain awkward.

What still translates well on the big screen is the friendship between Eddie & Patsy, it’s truly the best thing about the movie. Saunders and Lumley look like they genuinely love spending time together and their rapport is both heartwarming and bizarrely-amusing. All the scenes of them being stupendously-drunk, irreverent, un-hinged self are still amusing, which is the reason why the movie is still not a complete bust. But of course that’s never enough to make a good movie, so I can’t say that I love the movie overall.

AbFabMovie_EddiePatsy

I doubt non AbFab fans would get much out of this movie though. In fact I think they might get repulsed by all the excess and the über glamorous lifestyle and endless parties. I too find the setting in the French Riviera after the recent Nice attack quite unsettling. If you’re a big fan of the series, I suggest just wait for a rental.

2halfReels


Have you seen ‘Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie’? Let me know what you think!

Weekend Viewing Roundup: Ghostbusters (1984) & Superman Returns (2006) rewatch + The Adventurer: Curse Of The Midas Box (2013)

weekendroundup

Well this weekend’s viewing turns out to be pretty eclectic. Given that I saw the screening of the new Ghostbuster movie (review up later this week), I was inspired to re-watch the original. I honestly can’t remember when I saw that one, probably when I was a teen years ago, so my memory of it is hazy.

Well, just like the reboot, the cast of Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson and Sigourney Weaver is truly the best thing about the movie. I enjoy the camaraderie of the ghostbustin’ team, which is the main strength of the new one as well. So yeah, I’d say the original movie still holds up very well, though I actually find Rick Moranis‘ character a bit irritating. The movie is obviously funny, but the comedic style is pretty different from the new one, which isn’t a good or bad thing. Having seen both movies last week, I’m more convinced of how absurd the controversy is over the all-female cast. I suppose haters are gonna hate, I just can’t fathom the idiocy of it all.

Speaking of Bill Murray…

Sunday is often reserved for indulgent viewing for me, which is the time I usually watch my fave period dramas. But for some reason I was in the mood to watch Superman Returns. I can’t believe that movie is 10 years old! It’s funny how remakes/reboots often made you reflect on the older movies. Now, I never hated this Bryan Singer version apart from the whole Superman kid absurdity, which I think is the weakest link of the movie. But rewatching it this time around made me like it a bit more. I like how geeky Brandon Routh‘s Superman is as Clark Kent, and that rousing airplane rescue scene is still awesome. Yeah it’s definitely more of a rom-com at times (which Singer himself admits), but you know what, I enjoyed that whole flying scene of Supes & Lois. Oh and Parker Posey is a hoot to watch here, esp. the scene where she’s fan-girling over Supes!


Lastly, I watched this UK adventure flick The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box. Heh, that is one clunky title and the movie itself isn’t that much better. Honestly, I only watched it because of the awesome Welsh actors in it: Aneurin Barnard (in the lead role), the always watchable Michael Sheen and Ioan Gruffud. Sam Neill and Lena Heady played the villains, so even though it’s still fun to watch these talented actors, they all deserve a much better movie!


It’s supposed to be Indiana Jones meets Hugo (as Aneurin played a teenager here), but it’s nowhere near as good as either. I concur with Rodney’s review and rating of it here, which is too bad given the talented cast and promising plot. I agree that the score by Fernando Velázquez is the best thing in it, he happens to also score the great soundtrack of Pride + Prejudice + Zombies.

Tomorrow night I’ll be watching these two wacky-but-fabulous London ladies wrecking havoc in style…

AbFabPoster


So that’s my weekend recap. What did YOU watch this weekend, anything good?