Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Ab Fab The Movie: review

**** (4/5)
(Contains mild spoilers)

Sweetie darling, haven't you heard? Patsy and Edi are back with a new Ab Fab film.

Their characters may be growing older disgracefully but Lumley and Saunders don't look as though they've aged a day since the final episode of the final series aired at some point in the noughties. This time, the perma-high duo find themselves in the south of France rather that the streets of London, but the effect is much the same. Sure, the plot has more holes than Edi's string vest, and the green-screening leaves something to be desired, but it's got the Ab Fab charm stamped through it like a stick of rock.

With a film as widely anticipated as this, it's hard not to go in with some expectations, although with early reviews ranging from 1 star t 5 stars, it's hard to know what those expectations should have been. What was widely reported is the sheer deluge of celeb cameos the film has, and those reports certainly weren't exaggerated.

It starts with Jamie Laing from Made In Chelsea eight seconds in, and continues via Emma Bunton, Jon Hamm, Alexa Chung, Christopher Biggins and Jean Paul Gaultier (to name just a tiny proportion of them) before coming to an outrageous halt with Barry Humphries (as Dame Edna Everage).

The one to watch out for, though, is Rebel Wilson. Her three minute stint as an air hostess demonstrates a proclivity towards comic timing second only to the great Lumley herself (whose sharp one liners and infinite facial expressions really come into their own).

Comedy wise, the first few scenes don't have the hilarity expected, but the pace soon picks up. Sure, the jokes aren't to everyone's tastes, which I suspect was the source of may of the harsher reviews I've read, but anyone who enjoyed the TV series should find the same light relief in the films. We may not have been rolling around in the aisles (wouldn't want to spill our Bolly our smudge our make up, would we?), but it's a solid conveyor belt of belly laughs.

The one thing that doesn't sit well with die-hard fans of the TV series is some of the unrealistic changes in character, not least the revelation that dim old Bubbles had something vaguely resembling a plan all along.
Edi and Saffy showing something vaguely resembling sentimentality towards each other and new addition to the family, Lola is somewhat unsettling and untrue to the character dynamics we've grown to love all these years. What's more, it adds a sense of finality to proceedings, all but confirming what we all thought we knew -- that this will be the final airing for our Bolly-guzzling buddies.

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