**** out of 5
Rated R for language including sexual references, and some drug use
Article first published at TheReelPlace.com
Giving any TV show the feature film is a risky endeavor no matter the original material. But that doesn’t stop Hollywood from giving it the age old try. For every Star Trek or 21 Jump Street there’s a Bewitched and Lost in Space. Thankfully, Jennifer Saunders — the brilliantly twisted creator — has given Absolutely Fabulous a welcome return, along with a healthy injection of botox. Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie may not be the most absolutely hilarious film of the year, but have no fear sweetie darlings, as fans we couldn’t ask for a better movie treatment. Director Mandie Fletcher — director of three episodes — made sure to make the film feel like a real movie, all while letting Saunders and co-star Joanna Lumley continue doing what they do best.
With the TV show having been off the air since 2012, we’re thrust right back into the alcohol and nibblies madness as our beloved Edina Monsoon (Saunders) and Patsy Stone (Lumley) hit a runway show and wake up as “fabulous” as ever. We get to play catchup as the two recover with Edina’s daughter Saffy (Julia Sawalha), always the wet blanket, and her daughter Lola (Indeyarna Donaldson-Holness) around the breakfast nook. Mo (Bo) and Marshall (Christopher Ryan) drop by where we learn Marshall can’t continue to pay alimony because he’s having sexual reassignment surgery. Meanwhile, Edina has written a memoir in hopes of an advance for her dwindling funds. But, as luck may have it, Kate Moss (playing herself) has just announced she’s left her PR firm giving Edina and Patsy the bright idea to try to snag her as their newest/biggest client yet. Unfortunately, they take poor, young Lola with them as bait, when Edina accidentally knocks Kate off a balcony, into the Thames, turning her into a pariah. Now, the two are on the run to avoid manslaughter charges, where they wind up in the south of France, with everyone hot on their heels.
Considering the original show only consisted of six seasons and a few specials, it’s very clear that Saunders and Lumley adore their creations. A comedic tour de force paves the way for huge laughs, with a scant 90-minute runtime ensuring they never wear out their welcome. The zingers fly fast and furious — although Lumley’s bumbling does start to run out of gas — but the two give the film their all, and I would welcome back another feature at any point. Fletcher keeps the pace running at full throttle, even while letting Saunders’s screenplay find a few moments for some character pathos. But we didn’t come for the feels, we came for the fun, right darlings? And everything is in order for the sake of fanservice, even if mainstream audiences might find themselves in the dark if they’ve never seen the show before. Although, they won’t be the ones seeking out showtimes, so for the rest of us, let’s pop the champagne and enjoy another riotous outing with our beloved Eddie and Patsy and hope we don’t have to wait another four years for more misadventures. Cheers sweetie darlings!