Opening at the Cedar Lee Friday, Absolutely Fabulous: the Movie
stars Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley as characters they originated in their hit BBC tv series back in the 90s, a British sitcom with enough cultural cache that it was abbreviated, by fans, as Abfab.
Now the ladies are back in action. PR agent Edina "Eddie" Monsoon and her best pal, fashion magazine editor Patsy Malone, have both have eclipsed 60. They resist the passage of time and the dwindling of their respective careers by hob-knobbing with models and industry luminaries, and consuming vast quantities of drugs and alcohol while they're at it. The recurring joke is that no one much likes Eddie — even low-level celebs high-tail it in the opposite direction when she approaches — and her attempts to stay cool and relevant hinge on the supposition that she ever was (on which supposition I'm not equipped to comment.) But she's hard up for cash, and she sees a golden opportunity for money and fame when global fashion icon Kate Moss abandons her publicist.
But Moss falls from the balcony of a fashion soiree and Eddie is blamed. Fearing prosecution, Eddie and Patsy flee to the French Riviera, aided by Eddie's hip granddaughter Lola (Indeyarna Donaldson-Holness), and intend to find an old flame to marry, steal his fortune and begin their lives anew. Eddie's daughter Saffron (Julia Sawalha) and parodically dumb and fashion-very-far-forward personal assistant Bubbles (Jane Horrocks) reprise their roles from the series as well.
Presumably, this will be regarded as a must-see for fans of the BBC series, and one can see how the lead characters would have thrived in a short-form sitcom setting. The film, however, is an odd beast. The humor often relies on physical gags and preposterous turns of events, sort of in the unsteady comedic vein of film adaptations of SNL skits. Though Saunders and Lumley continue to draw laughs in individual scenes, this attempt to extend and grow a beloved brand might not do either.