Absolutely Fabulous The Movie review: Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders play the same old hits

 
James Luxford
Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley reprise women behaving badly Eddy and Patsy
Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie
3.0

Given the media obsessed culture we live in, it's remarkable that cinema audiences haven't already been introduced to Edina Monsoon and Patsy Stone. The drunken duo (played by Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley) amassed a cult following during their 90s small screen run, which has seen several one-off returns over the years. Following the critical success of The Inbetweeners Movie and the box-office taking of this year’s Dad’s Army film, Patsy and Eddy finally get a shot at the big time.

Returning to the vacuous world of fashion shows and networking events, PR guru Eddy needs to revive her career having fallen on hard times. Her remedy? Sign Kate Moss. Things don't go to plan, and she soon finds herself implicated in the model’s apparent murder. Eddy and Patsy go on the run to the French Riviera in search of a new life and a sugar daddy.

TV adaptations can be a precarious venture, and even the most loveable characters can struggle to fill the big screen without the right script. Happily this isn't the case here – while it’s little more than a long episode, it never drags, filling its 90 minute run time with gags and celebrity cameos. Humour is mined from the stars’ attempts to remain relevant in a world rapidly leaving them behind, grappling with low budget airlines and social media; none of it’s particularly clever, but it's always fun.

There’s a vicarious thrill to these characters’ willingness to shove family and responsibilities aside in the name of living it large with the beautiful people. Saunders' Eddy clings desperately to youth, relevance and recognition, while Lumley's Patsy simply wants to know where the next bottle of Bolly’s coming from. There are too many cameos to mention (practically the entire fashion industry shows up), although Rebel Wilson's flight attendant and Chris Colfer's drama loving stylist make a lasting impression.

Like its heroes, Absolutely Fabulous The Movie has its flaws but overcomes them through sheer pigheaded charm. I suspect the adventure may not be over for this pair.

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