Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Absolutely Fabulous: the Movie

"Sweetie, Darling, Let me in!!!" If you've ever watched the Britcom called Absolutely Fabulous or AB FAB for short, you know PR mogul, Edina Monsoon has a snootful once more and is begging her much put upon adult daughter, Saffron (Saffy) to let her in the house. She can't quite figure out the complexities of opening the door...

This was an outrageous television show and the movie carries on the tradition. The cast remains the same for the main characters with a veritable host of British fashion, film, and television stars playing themselves.

Jennifer Saunders plays Edina. She also wrote the script as she did for the television show with her writing partner comedienne Dawn French.

Johanna Lumley recreates her role as Patsy Stone, the ultra chic fashion magazine editor and Edina's best friend.  They do everything together.

Julia Sawalha plays Saffron, Edina's daughter.

Jane Horrocks plays Bubble, Edina's rattle-brained assistant.

June Whitfield plays Mother, Edina's slightly out of it aged parent.

So Edina is having a tough time with her PR business. Down to one client, singer Lulu, she is desperate to sign someone else. She had dictated her autobiography to Bubble, but didn't read it before giving it to a publisher.  When she met with him, she found Bubble had written the beginning paragraph as she heard it. But everything afterward in what looks like a 100,000 word manuscript is "blah, blah, blah..." Edina expected a big advance, but of course, gets nothing.

Hearing supermodel Kate Moss is seeking new representation, Edina and Patsy put on their fashionable best (in Edina's case it's an elaborate hodgepodge as usual). They go to a big fashion affair where designer and Sir Paul's daughter, Kate McCartney sees them come in. She tells a friend, "She better not be wearing MY clothes!"

Edina sends in her granddaughter (yes granddaughter, these two are indeed long in the tooth) to speak to Kate Moss, who is sitting on the terrace wall overlooking the Thames. Edina rushes over stumbling along the way.  She and Pats have prepared for the evening in their usual manner drinking champagne and vodka, taking whatever pills they can find, and topping it off with a few tokes of weed.  Needless to say they are both wasted.

So the inevitable happens, Edina stumbles into Kate Moss, knocks her off the terrace wall and into the river, where she disappears. A police search is held but she is not found. Everyone at the party immediately says Edina murdered the popular model. They loudly and viciously turn against her.  She is detained by the London police. Finally, she is released while they investigate. She is told not to leave the country. Her daughter is dating one of the detectives, which complicates matters further.

She becomes a prisoner in her own home with crowds of the international press outside the gates and people screaming insults. The last straw is when a brick sails through one of her windows with a note saying "I hate you." She's the subject of all the newscasts and newspaper headlines. While the populace makes a large shrine beside the Thames to Kate Moss.

Naturally Patsy is with her. Both of them broke, they manipulate someone to fund their voyage, someone else to impersonate them, and they slip out to fly to France.  On the cheapo airline, the only one they can afford, they run into the world's rudest flight attendant, played by Rebel Wilson.

Their adventure truly begins across the pond. They are confronted with their age, learning what old lovers think of them, etc. True to their nature, they find a way to manipulate their situation to their advantage and learn next to nothing from it.

The film is a hoot, with a host of memorable scenes. Lots of British and a couple of American celebs play themselves.  Look for Gwendolyn Christie, the Lady Knight Brienne in Game of Thrones; Lulu; Stella McCartney; Joan Collins (who looks magnificent for her age); John Hamm, who turns out to be one of Patsy's former lovers (he tries to run away from her when she approaches him); Graham Norton, who DOES run away from Edina; and Dawn French (much thinner than in her Vicar of Dibley days) to name but a few.

There's no message to this film and nothing socially redeemable. I guess if you like that sort of thing I'd say,

"You can't keep a party girl down, no matter her age."

This one is loaded with foul language, inappropriate references, etc. So if you don't like that sort of thing, be forewarned.

Whether Edina and Pats are fleeing the gendarmes in a stolen seafood truck, or Saffron is serenading a club full of drag queens by singing "I learned the truth at seventeen..." until all the queens are in tears, this one is a comic treasure trove, usually at the expense of the main characters.

For all of us AB FAB fans, this one has been long in coming. Go and enjoy it!

Whew, that's my mini movie marathon - two movies in two days, seen in theaters.

Until next time...

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