Movie review: Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie

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Drag the Lacroix out of the closet, sweetie. Patsy and Edina are back.

Fans of the television show Absolutely Fabulous will no doubt bust a nut in seeing the larger-than-life Patsy and Edina on the big screen, as Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie opens around the country today. It may be a tougher sell though to those not familiar with the chain-smoking, booze fuelled British duo, played by Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley.

Based on the characters created by Saunders for the BBC in the 90s, Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie reunites the television show’s original cast. Along with the two leading ladies, Julia Sawalha returns as Edina’s long-suffering daughter, June Whitefield is back as Edina’s sprightly mother, and Jane Horrocks reprises her role as the Nietzsche reading ditz, Bubble.

The plot for Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie is about as shallow as Patsy and Edina (or “Eddy” as she prefers). With Eddy’s public relations business in a tailspin and none of what Patsy calls “hand money” at her disposal any longer, she hatches a plan to land Kate Moss as a client, to help revive her flagging career. Problem is, Moss is presumed drowned in the Thames, and Eddy is the prime suspect.

The duo are soon on the lam in Cannes, with Patsy looking to save their lifestyle by hooking up with a long lost – and mega rich – flame, played by Barry Humphries out-of-drag. Discovering he has moved onto those considerably younger, it is up to Patsy to find someone else to help keep her and Eddy in the style to which they have become accustomed. No spoilers on how everything is resolved in the end, although like most of this movie, there are few real surprises as its heads towards its inevitable conclusion.

As one member of that other 90s British phenomenon, The Spice Girls, would say: Saunders and Lumley are on point (for millennials in the audience that is the equivalent of being “on fleek”). And they remain the biggest reason to see this movie.

Saunders’s often deprecating humour continues to make Eddy somehow loveable, and Lumley is a pure comedy goddess. Early scenes see Lumley giving herself Botox injections, and even as she might walk into a few too many doors over the course of the film’s mercifully short 90 minutes, there are few actors who seem as wholly committed and consumed by a role.  And the supporting cast miss none of their idiosyncrasies that made them so memorable in the television series.

A big part of the film’s fun is in spotting some of the dozens of cameos that along with Moss include Emma (Baby Spice) Bunton, Joan Collins, Rebel Wilson, Jon Hamm, Stella McCartney, Jerry Hall, Graham Norton, and Humphries back in drag as his alter-ego Dame Edna.

AbFab fans looking for a respite from the CGI-fueled summer blockbusters, Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie just might be the ticket. For the rest, you may first want to get caught up on their television antics.

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