Saturday, July 30, 2016

Movie Review #461: "Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie" (2016)

Movie"Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie"
Director: Mandie Fletcher
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hour, 31 minutes
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Edina (Jennifer Saunders) and Patsy (Joanna Lumley) are running low on money. When Patsy hears Kate Moss has fired her PR person, she sees it as an opportunity for Edina to sign her. They have a plan to approach Moss at an upcoming gala, however, Edina's competitor is there with the same idea. In rush to see who gets to Kate first, they accidentally knock her off the balcony and into the river Thames. When Kate never surfaces, Edina worries she may be on the hook for manslaughter. Fearing incarceration, Edina and Patsy flee to the south of France to hide out and to possibly marry a lonely billionaire to make their money problems disappear.

"Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie" is directed by Mandie Fletcher and is a film adaptation of the cult British show "Absolutely Fabulous." Just like the show, it stars Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley as Edina and Patsy, two alcoholic socialites who work in the fashion and entertainment industry. They spend most their time at fashion galas and parties where they seem to be despised by just about everyone and always wind up making fools of themselves because they are loud, obnoxious, and always have too much to drink. At one of these parties, Edina, in a desperate attempt to sign Kate Moss to her PR firm, winds up knocking her off a balcony into the Thames. Fearing legal repercussions, she and Patsy flee to the south of France in the hopes of starting a new life mooching off of any wealthy billionaire that will give them the time of day.

"Absolutely Fabulous," or Ab-Fab as it is fondly referred to by fans, aired on British television and on Comedy Central in America in the early to mid 90's and again in the early 2000's, with the occasional special here and there. This is a movie definitely geared more towards existing fans of the series. It would seem there are a lot of callbacks and references to the show, and those who haven't ever seen it won't be familiar with what is going on. It's not hard to figure out what's being pulled from the previous shows, but if you have no frame of reference, chances are you'll be left scratching your head. That being said, as a film, there are some aspects of the humor that are able to stand on their own. As with many British films and shows, there is a hefty amount of dry, witty dialogue and quite a bit of slapstick as well as other visual gags. Some of it works, and some of it doesn't, and some of the jokes are downright cringeworthy. The movie is full of cameos from actors, singers, and popular fashion industry icons. Unfortunately, having a steady stream of cameos to add to your hit or miss jokes isn't enough to bolster a movie from "decent" to "worthwhile." The technical aspects of the film aren't that great, either, as the editing feels very choppy throughout its short run time. Saunders and Lumley haven't missed a beat, but the world seems to have grown away from them, and what was shocking in the 90's is now just crass and may be downright offensive to some. Not every person is going to love a joke about a character trying to euthanize their own mother.

We wish "Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie" had been funnier. With some solidly built characters and what could have been a great piece of social commentary, we left the theater disappointed and underwhelmed by Edina and Patsy's shenanigans. With such a funny trailer, know all of the funniest jokes are already disclosed to you before you buy your ticket to see this film. Cameo after cameo does not a movie make, and with a few annoying supporting characters and no real pizzazz to it all, this is a flat reincarnation of two characters with the shadow of something greater that just can't quite overcome its stagnant writing and obnoxiousness.

My Rating: 5.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 5/10
IMDB's Rating: 5.9/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 63%
Do we recommend this movie: Meh.

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