Thursday, 30 June 2016

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie | VÍDEO : Official HD Trailer #1 | 2016

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie review – absolutely fatuous, thank God
3 / 5 stars
Some were trepidatious about this belated big-screen outing for the fashionista sitcom. In fact, post-referendum, the timing couldn’t be better … and neither could Joanna Lumley

Peter Bradshaw
Wednesday 29 June 2016 22.46 BST

Sixty is the new 40, 90 is the new 70 and Jennifer Saunders’s Edina and Joanna Lumley’s Patsy are back – along with Edina’s very elderly mum, played by June Whitfield. The less-than-dynamic duo make a characteristically wobbly and hungover reappearance in heels, champagne flutes in one hand and cigarettes in the other. No nonsense about vaping.

It’s as if they showed up here through a worm-hole from the 1990s – arriving in 2016 for our summer of non-love, making a game entrance in a country where the recent referendum has caused depression in the hearts of fully 100% of those who voted. Patsy and Edina are here on an honourable mission to cheer us up - bless them. And a fair bit of the time they succeed.

It’s impossible to watch Joanna Lumley’s pursed-lip expression of disdain and suppressed nausea without laughing and the same goes for Saunders’s childlike pout of dismay and incomprehension. It’s always very funny when they have to run. Half-way through the film they make a mad and semi-logical dash to the south of France, using a budget airline. Not needing a visa was a bit of a boon.

This is a broad, silly, likably daft Britcom, made possible by the colossal commercial success of the Inbetweeners films - movies based on British TV shows can do well at the box office. It’s basically 50 minutes of material stretched out to 90 on a daisy-chain of cameos, including Christopher Biggins (of course), Judith Chalmers, Graham Norton and Barry Humphries. Orla Guerin and Jeremy Paxman make their own good-sport contributions. There are also, naturally, as in the Zoolander sequel, heavyweight walk-ons from many a fashion ledge, such as Alexa Chung, Stella McCartney and of course Kate Moss herself.

The fashion people are all absolute kryptonite to comedy of course. The film becomes less funny with every syllable that Stella is allowed to say and Kate is utterly and uncompromisingly wooden in an imperious manner that commands a kind of respect. Her recent IRL contretemps with the “basic bitch” easyJet flight attendant clearly inspired the scene here in which Patsy faces off with a dead-eyed budget airline stewardess played, inevitably, by Rebel Wilson.

The situation is that Patsy and Edina are in a jam. Eddie’s handsome West London home may have to be relinquished due to financial embarrassments and Edina does not have any of what Patsy vaguely calls “hand money”. Saffy (Julia Sawalha) still lives with them, and she has a teenage daughter by an ex-partner that our unscrupulous heroines try to exploit for fashion purposes.

And in 2016, no one cares about PR any more. It no longer has the cachet it once had. And poor Edina has yet to grasp that in the world of Instagram and Twitter people are increasingly doing their own PR. Edina is stuck with a dismal client list that is confined to Lulu and Baby Spice (cameos, naturally) and a “boutique vodka”.

Their ultimate crisis arrives on attending a party where Kate Moss is to be found, chatting to Jon Hamm. Patsy makes a leering approach to Hamm, who looks at her blankly and then flinches when he remembers how they first met: “You took my virginity, leave me my sanity...” he whimpers. But there is a catastrophe involving Kate Moss and Edina and Patsy have to go on the run.

Basically, Joanna Lumley saves this film: she has an imperishable hauteur and comedy-charisma. She is the garden bridge that stops this film from collapsing into the Thames. You don’t need silly cameos when you’ve got Lumley. The scene at the beginning when she injects her face with Botox is a showstopper. Nicolas Winding Refn must be kicking himself he didn’t have that in his fashion horror-thriller The Neon Demon.

Absolutely Fabulous is reasonably good fun – although I would have liked to see a dramatisation of the classic Kate Moss anecdote, doing a dystopia-chic fashion shoot in a ruined building and being told by a timid assistant that the only toilets she could use were ones with no doors. Moss replied: “Well, how am I supposed to get in, then?”
• Absolutely Fabulous is released in the UK on 1 July, in the US on 22 July and in Australia on 4 August

Why Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie is a better fashion satire than Zoolander 2
It’s got fewer Hollywood stars and a much lower budget but the sitcom movie nails fashionista desperation much better than Ben Stiller’s laboured sequel

Benjamin Lee
Thursday 30 June 2016 12.55 BST

March 2015 saw the splashy beginning of Zoolander 2’s relentless buzz-building campaign as stars Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson appeared in character at Paris fashion week. It was covered extensively by both film and fashion press, and kicked off an exhaustively well-sustained assault on anyone with an internet connection all the way through to its release in February this year.
Some were trepidatious about this belated big-screen outing for the fashionista sitcom. In fact, post-referendum, the timing couldn’t be better … and neither could Joanna Lumley
Read more
Given the first film’s cult following and how surprisingly well it stands up to repeat viewings 15 years later, expectations were high for another quotable combination of well-measured silliness and sharp fashion-industry satire. But it was a washout, a tiresome and aggressively unfunny mis-step, the sort of lazy rehash that makes you question whether you even liked the original.

Five months later and we have another couple of fictional fashionistas dusted off and resurrected for those blessed with a good memory. Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie brings back Patsy and Edina, originally on the BBC in 1992, and catapults them to the big screen following in the footsteps of The Inbetweeners and, most recently, Dad’s Army. The campaign was far more modest, cheap even, and the buzz was notably less feverish, not helped by the film’s first press screening taking place just two days before its release.

Yet, against all odds, it works. The comic timing of Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley has been curiously underutilised in the years since Ab Fab went off air, and the film, wonderfully short, scrappy and snappy at 91 minutes, gives them free rein to remind us of their skills. It’s imperfect (the plot is almost an afterthought), but it’s far funnier than it should be, given how unnecessary it all seemed on paper.

The pleasure of watching the pair drunkenly embarrass themselves across Europe far outweighs watching Stiller and Wilson uncover new levels of idiocy in a glossier transatlantic trip. Both films posit their characters as relics, struggling to keep up with an industry changed irrevocably by social media and populated with those far younger and sharper. But Patsy and Edina were always in this mode, obsessed with remaining current, aware of their sell-by date and failing, miserably, to succeed in the fashion world. Alternately, Derek and Hansel were, bizarrely and comically, at the top of their game in the first film, only to be brought back to earth in the sequel.

When your film receives a green light on the basis of fan service, you’d be wise to make sure your most loyal fans are well-served. By changing the dynamic, we lost the joke of seeing two middle-aged, above-average-looking men touted as gorgeous supermodels and instead in the sequel, they ended up playing fortysomething dads failing to comprehend selfie culture. Ab Fab doesn’t deviate from its original setup, it merely exaggerates it, an understandable decision given the increased gap between the leads and the youthful culture they hope to dominate.

There’s also a confidence in the characters in Ab Fab thanks to a wealth of material, 39 episodes in fact, that have proved their longevity and also the actors’ skill at playing them. Zoolander 2 proved that Derek and Hansel have less mileage, and despite both films having largely nonsensical and haphazard plots, only Patsy and Edina manage to rise above.

The poor box office of Stiller’s sequel was a sign that the fandom wasn’t as strong as Paramount had anticipated. On the same budget of $50m, similarly belated comedy follow-up Anchorman 2 managed to make almost four times that, while Zoolander 2 just about broke even. Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie won’t play to huge numbers abroad, but surprisingly strong reviews and a fanbase that’s stuck around since the early 90s might make it a modest domestic success. By never pretending to be in style, Patsy and Edina have remained more fashionable than Derek and Hansel could have ever dreamed of.

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