Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie
Director: Mandie Fletcher
Writer: Jennifer Saunders
Based on/sequel to: the series
Cast: Jennifer Saunders, Joanna Lumley, Jane Horrocks, Julia Sawalha, Robert Webb, Celia Imrie, Mark Gatiss, Chris Colfer, Kate Moss, Graham Norton, Gwendoline Christie, Suki Waterhouse, Lily Cole, Alexa Chung, Stella McCartney, Jerry Hall, Emma Bunton, Jon Hamm, Kathy Lette, Jeremy Paxman, Dawn French, Rebel Wilson, Barry Humphries, Joan Collins
Seen on: 8.9.2016
Edina (Jennifer Saunders) and Patsy (Joanna Lumley) have been best friends since about forever, spending most of their time battling the idea that growing older also means growing up. Instead they party in the world of high fashion all of the time. But they’re also struggling with keeping up their standard of living, Edina dreaming of finding a big client she can represent, and Patsy of finding a rich husband. When they hear that Kate Moss (as herself) is looking for new representation, they do everything to get close to her. But it ends in catastrophe: Kate is knocked into the Thames and disappears, and Edina and Patsy have to flee the country.
I’ve never seen the TV show this is based on/a sequel to, but I decided to see the film anyway because it’s rare enough to get such a female-centric film (both in front of and behind the camera). But honestly, I’m a little unsure what to do with this film – and I probably wouldn’t have if I had been familiar with the show before.
It’s, of course, revolutionary that two older women get to behave like stupid teenagers in this film. And not even like the usually rather responsible female teenagers we get to see on-screen, but the hard-partying, harder-drinking kind of irresponsible that, personally, I associate with frat boys. And to have both protagonists get away with everything. So yay for disregarding gender rules and age rules and generally breaking taboos left and right.
The only problem with that is: I don’t know who would want to spend more than a minute with drunk, irresponsible and stupid frat boys, regardless of age and gender, let alone two hours? Especially when they are as convincingly portrayed as they are by Saunders and, particularly, Lumley. Certainly not me. And that’s a problem when watching AbFab.
That doesn’t mean that they didn’t have a few good jokes. They certainly didn’t take themselves too seriously – that’s always a plus. I am sure that I would have appreciated the film even more if I felt any kind of connection to or had much knowledge of the world of fashion, though. It’s pretty much one big inside joke after all, as is made obvious by the staggering amount of cameos (my personal favorite was Gwendoline Christie, though I was also quite taken with Moss’ self-deprecation).
But there are also quite a few jokes that simply made me cringe, especially when the film becomes blatantly transphobic (fortunately that’s only a rather short bit, though). On the whole, I found the film and its characters more exhausting than funny. But then I doubt that it was ever intended for me.