Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie
- Street Date:
- November 29th, 2016
- Reviewed by:
- Matthew Hartman
- Review Date: 1
- December 15th, 2016
- Movie Release Year:
- 20th Century Fox
- 91 Minutes
- MPAA Rating:
- Release Country
- United States
The Movie Itself: Our Reviewer's Take
"Every time our life hits a good patch, this miserable piece of flesh has to ruin it!"
It's a curious thing to know and follow a group of characters for nearly 25 years. There are certain aspects of the characters you naturally come to know, love and expect from them every time they enter a room. When you're talking about Jennifer Saunders' hapless trendsetter Edina and her bosom buddy in bad behavior Patsy played by Joanna Lumley, you expect each half hour episode of 'Absolutely Fabulous' to be a parade of pills, booze, and outrageousness. But what are you to do when everything you've come to know and love about these madcap women is taken out of its three wall comfort zone and blown up for the big screen? 'Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie' may feature some fun and friendly faces, but not all of its heart and soul made the cinematic transition.
Eddie (Jennifer Saunders) and Patsy (Joanna Lumley) are still doing what they do best, going to parties, getting blitzed, and somehow managing a PR empire all at the same time. Meanwhile, Eddie's stressed-to-the-max daughter Saffy (Julia Sawalha), Saffy's daughter Lola (Indeyarna Donaldson-Holness), Mother (June Whitfield) and Eddie's seemingly dimwitted assistant Bubble (Jane Horrocks) are left to pick up the pieces each and every morning. After a particularly rough night of carousing and partying that managed to offend nearly everyone in London's fashion scene, Eddie needs to get to the publishers and ink her book deal. With cash on the line, she has only so much time before the deal disappears along with the money Eddie needs to retire on. Things go awry when an accident leaves Eddie accused of killing Kate Moss at a fashion event! With the cops and the paparazzi on their backsides, Eddie and Patsy cook up one last wild plot that will take them to Cannes where they hope to live out their days in luxury.
My introduction to 'Absolutely Fabulous' kicked in around 2003 when reruns of the show started appearing on Comedy Central's late night lineup. I would finish my last classes of the day, kick out some homework, watch something like South Park, and then cap off the night with an episode of 'AbFab.' I thoroughly enjoyed the intoxicated hijinks Eddie and Patsy wound up in and poor Saffy having to be the adult on the show. Each character was a colorful delight and it's blend of real-life celebrities like Lulu, Twiggy, or Emma Bunton added a layer of subtle hilarity. Obviously, you're supposed to despise the things Eddie and Patsy do as they get older and older, but at the same time you can't help but love the fact that the dynamic duo of mind-altering substances and fashion trends refuse to grow up. Even when there are children and grandchildren involved, they steadfastly refuse to be the adults in the room.
With 39 episodes spread out over twenty years, the show kept finding great reasons to come back every few years with another batch of hilarious episodes. Everyone would obviously get a little older, maybe a little wiser, well, maybe not everyone. Eddie and Patsy were never going to get old even if their bodies told them otherwise. It's with this prospect that I was actually looking forward to 'Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie.' Unfortunately, some things just don't transfer from half-hour television installments to a 90-minute feature film. While all of the familiar faces are back, the random celebrities drop by for a cameo, and Eddie and Patsy are just as debauch as ever - this film never really feels like 'Absolutely Fabulous.' Instead, it feels more like a group of different people pretending to be 'Absolutely Fabulous.'
This isn't to say that the film isn't funny, there are several moments of gut-busting hilarity - the Jon Hamm cameo being notable, it's just not as good as one would hope. Not helping matters is the fact that this film is the swan song of the show. Unless something changes, 'AbFab' isn't coming back, so this movie is really one for the fans. To that end, the film takes a long time to reintroduce everyone. Granted, any film with a multi-million dollar budget attached needs to make itself accessible to the layman viewer, however, I think the film would have worked better if it just steamrolled right into itself without the need to set itself up. Since it hinges on your past experiences with Eddie and Patsy anyway, why not just go for broke and barrel forward? That's how I was introduced to the show, I caught it somewhere around Series 4, got hooked, and then went backwards to the earlier episodes. In that time I learned who each character was and their relationship to one another through osmosis. Also, I wish they'd kept the 3-wall setup, there's a flavor to that kind of staging and comedy that is quickly lost when the camera can rest at any angle. The close intimacy that the show had is lost when you can actually see Eddie's ridiculously extravagant home when most of the time the family stays in the ludicrously luxurious kitchen that Eddie never cooks in - but features expensive top of the line appliances.
I wouldn't say that I'm completely disappointed by 'Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie,' but I can't bring myself to fully embrace this cinematic extension of one of my favorite shows. Newcomers to 'AbFab' should probably spend a little time getting to know the show before jumping into this movie. Even if the transition is clunky, it does help to know who Eddie and Patsy are before committing yourself to their latest adventure. If you're a longtime fan, it's certainly worth a watch, but keep expectations in check before entering.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
'Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie' arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of 20th Century Fox in a Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD set. The film is pressed onto a Region A BD-50 disc and is housed in a 2-disc eco-friendly case with identical slipcover artwork. The disc loads to trailers for upcoming 20th Century Fox releases before arriving at an animated main menu with traditional navigation options.
The Video: Sizing Up the Picture
With a digitally sourced 2.39:1 1080p transfer, 'Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie' looks, well, fabulous! The image is richly detailed with bright and beautiful colors that leap off the screen. Even in the cold gray and drab London locations, primaries have a richness to them that appear natural and heightened at the same time. There is a backed in softness to the film in some places that may seem out of place, but when you realize that's part of the joke that everything is supposed to look like a Lexus Christmas commercial it just adds to the fun. When Eddie and Patsy make their way to Cannes, the color pallet brightens up a bit as there is a lot more natural sunlight in play. Black levels are pretty great throughout. Some of the night-time scenes, especially during the inciting incident that gets this whole nutty plot rolling can look a little more grey-brown than black, but that doesn't appear to have impacted the image's sense of depth and dimension. Without any annoying compression issues or artifacts to report, this is one damn beautiful looking Blu-ray release!
The Audio: Rating the Sound
When you've got a movie about to rowdy and raucous ladies, you naturally need an audio track to match. Thankfully this English DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix manages to keep pace with Patsy and Eddie. Dialogue is clean and crisp throughout allowing for their high-pitched screams and whaling to carry over nicely while all of their other partying-related sound effects get their own added little punch. There is plenty of crossing dialogue as various characters talk/shout over one another and you never have a hard time distinguishing voices or what is being said. Party scenes are especially effective providing a nicely immersive experience as the surround channels get a little extra workout. There is plenty of imaging with a nice natural amount of channel movement while background sound effects and scoring help give the track a sense of space and dimension. Like the video, this is a fabulous mix.
The Supplements: Digging Into the Good Stuff
Deleted Scenes: (HD 3:49) Nothing too earth shattering here, you usual extensions that would otherwise kill a joke or some random bits and bobs that didn't add to the film, but are still fun to see.
Outtakes: (HD 8:03) Normally outtakes are that funny to me because it's pretty tame material or feel staged but these were actually pretty funny bits.
Promotional Featurettes: (HD 30:41) Spread out over 9 little mini segments, these promotional features are your standard tried and true EPK style extras. You do get some interesting little production factoids here and there, but most of the time it's various cast and crew members answering a version of the same question.
Gallery: (HD 2:55) Some stills from the film, you can let it play out or manually advance the image yourself.
Theatrical Trailer: (HD 2:31)
'Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie' is a bit of a mixed bag. If you're already in line for Eddie and Patsy's wild ways, then you should get some decent belly laughs, but casual fans or newcomers may not take to this iteration of the BBC classic television series. This one kept me in the middle, I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it either. 20th Century Fox brings the flick to Blu-ray in terrific fashion with an absolutely stellar A/V presentation. Extras are plentiful but don't offer much weight. A Saunders and Lumley commentary would have been a gas to hear but is sadly a missed opportunity. At the end of the day, I'm calling 'Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie' as worth a look. Some may love it, others should probably proceed with caution.
- Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD
- English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
- Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
- Brazilian Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
- French DTS 5.1
- English, Spanish, French, Portuguese
- Deleted Scenes
- On Set with Dame Edna
- 8 Featurettes
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