Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Thursday December 8, 2016

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie

"Absolutely Fabulous The Movie" is a sweet and fluffy big-screen revisitation of the 1990s international hit Britcom.

The big-screen adventure catches up to Edwina (Jennifer Saunders) and best friend/partner in crime Patsy (Joanne Lumley) in real time, years after the last small batch of TV episodes. Daughter Saffy (Julia Sawalha) now has a teenaged daughter of her own, Lola (Indeyarna Donaldson-Holness); meantime, her enmity with Patsy rages on unabated. On the other side of the generation gap, Edina's mother (June Whitfield) is dottier than ever -- though not so much so that she can't wander into the frame no matter where the flick might relocate.

In this case, it's Cannes, which is where Edina and Patsy retreat after being accused of murdering Kate Moss. What follows is a watered-down cross between "Some Like It Hot" and just about any "wrongly accused person(s) on the lam" flick you care to name. Saffy, with the aid of her new boyfriend -- a policeman (Robert Webb) -- is in hot pursuit, and ditzy assistant Bubble (Jane Horrocks) is in fine form.

While not as razor-sharp as the show's best episodes, the movie does offer some decent fan service (including references to some of the TV show's best gags and the most intriguing hints at Patsy and Edwina's colorful pasts), and it fits meticulously into the show's close-knit mythology. In other words, it's comfortable, even though its doesn't really stretch to fit its cinematic canvas. If anything, the movie is more comfortable on the small screen - the realm of the series -- than it was in the cineplex.

All that said, in the realm of Ab-Fabulosity, the film is still second-rate, despite being plumped up with some nice location work and a plethora of cameo appearances that continually surprise and delight. Not so much a wrong turn as a dead end, this is a movie completists will take some pleasure in -- but could we please just have another season or two of the TV show?

The special features here are numerous but not outstanding. The deleted scenes round out a throwaway subplot in which a minor character is transitioning, and offer a few nicely done character moments and bits of physical comedy. The outtakes -- bits in which the actors flub their lines -- are standard fare. One of the celebs who appears in a cameo puts in a special appearance in the extras, though, and that's none other than Dame Edna. There's also a "Sneak Peek," a photo gallery, and some other -- as they say in the UK -- odds and sods. If you saw the movie it last summer, repeated viewings won't improve it much; if you missed it, though, it is worth a look. Or, entertain your Yuletide guests by throwing it on as video wallpaper at your holiday parties; if nothing else, this is a bright and shiny movie.

"Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie"




Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.