Making “Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie” must have been a blast.
Think about it: A reunion of old coworkers and their beloved characters, awesome scenery in the south of France and a never-ending stream of famous-face cameos — Rebel Wilson, Jon Hamm, Joan Collins, Chris Colfer, Lily Cole, Jerry Hall, Lulu (yes, the “To Sir With Love” singer), Graham Norton, Gwendoline Christie, Perez Hilton, Stella McCarthy and more skinny supermodels than the brain can process — that turns the movie into a celebrity version of Where’s Waldo.
If only some of the fun had ended up on the screen.
Fans of the old “Ab-Fab” TV show will be bitterly disappointed. Newcomers will wonder why anybody bothered.
It’s enough to make you look back fondly on the “Sex and the City” movies.
The long-running ’90s Brit sitcom featured Jennifer Saunders (who scripted the series and this movie) as Edina Monsoon, a hopelessly inept p.r. maven to London’s fashion industry, and and Joanna Lumley as her running buddy Patsy Stone, an aging former model who can rarely think past from where her next alcohol/pharmaceutical fix is coming.
It was a savage comedy about a couple of reprehensible people.
Eddie and Patsy are still reprehensible, but the charm has worn very, very thin.
The threadbare plot has a client-less Eddie accidentally killing model Kate Moss (or so it is believed) and then going on the lam with Patsy to the French Riviera to find a rich old man to underwrite their bad behavior.
Once you get past the pair’s drunken/addled behavior there’s not much to laugh at here. Comedy lines fall flat (it doesn’t help that they’re delivered in a variety of heavy Brit dialects that render them incomprehensible to American ears. . . every print should be subtitled).
Oh, there are modest pleasures in seeing familiar faces from the TV show: Julia Sawalha as Eddie’s dowdy straight-arrow daughter Saffron, Jane Horrocks as Eddie’s spaced-out girl Friday Bubble, June Whitfield as Eddie’s seen-it-all mum.
The problem here is that both writer Saunders and director Mandie Fletcher fail to make the jump from 30-minute TV show to feature film. There might be enough material here for one so-so episode of the TV show. But at 90 minutes “Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie” is all padding.
I laughed out loud maybe once.