Film Review by Clayton Barnett
Edina and Patsy are still oozing glitz and glamor, living the high life they are accustomed to; shopping, drinking and clubbing their way around London's trendiest hot-spots. Blamed for a major incident at an uber fashionable launch party, they become entangled in a media storm and are relentlessly pursued by the paparazzi. Fleeing penniless to the glamorous playground of the super-rich, the French Riviera, they hatch a plan to make their escape permanent and live the high life forever more!
Edina and Patsy are back and knocking back the Bolli in their first feature length outing, 24 years since the award-winning comedy went to air.
If you’re a fan of the original series you’ll be lapping up the pair’s classic buffoonery - crashing catwalks, insulting Saffy, not having a clue about social media and quaffing unlimited amounts of drugs, cigarettes and alcohol. The chemistry between Saunders and Lumley hasn’t faded, but what was a satirical look at 90’s excess - and worked brilliantly for a half-hour show - doesn’t quite hit the mark in a feature length movie in today’s age of austerity.
I used to watch the show with my mum when I was a teenager, and even rewatched a few after the screening and it still holds up. She enjoyed for what it was, but I felt it was about ten years too late. British sitcoms always have trouble making the leap to the big screen - see Mrs Brown’s Boys - Da Movie amongst many others - that just feel like a stretched out episode. At 90 minutes there was still a lot of filler in the Ab Fab Movie.
But you can’t deny they know how to wrangle in some cracker cameos. The list is absurd: TV’s Jon Hamm, Chris Colfer and Brienne of Tarth herself Gwendoline Christie, Lulu and Emma Bunton sing for their supper, the fashion world step out with the likes of Stella McCartney, Jean-Paul Gaultier and Kate Moss and that’s not including legends such as Joan Collins and Barry Humphries. And Rebel Wilson is such a big fan she lobbied for a role back in 2012! Seriously with all of the original supporting cast along as well, if they cut half the cameos the movie might have had some sort of flow.
While Saunders and Lumley keep the movie alive, Ab Fab’s big screen outing is dragged down by a relentless parade of cameos. Definitely one for the fans of the classic 90’s show.
Releases: 11th August 2016
Rating: M – Contains offensive language, sexual references & drug use
Duration: 91 minutes
Starring: Jennifer Saunders, Joanna Lumley, Jane Horrocks
Director: Mandie Fletcher (Deadly Advice)
The movie was finalized as part of a bet made on the radio. Jennifer Saunders was determined to get the movie made in order to win a bet with comedy partner Dawn French, and would have to pay her £100,000 or have the script in her hands by the end of 2015. She succeeded in the latter, although when French first properly looked through the script, after page 35 it just said "blah blah blah blah...".
Jennifer Saunders has stated in an interview with BBC magazine; "This will be the proper send off that Ab Fab needs. More or less."
According to the Jennifer Saunders official website, this movie will include at least "3 major cameos". One of which, is going to "blow your mind."
Kathy Burke returns as Magda, whom previously featured in five episodes of the original series. The last time she portrayed this character was 20 years earlier, which marks the largest gap for a recurring character within the "Ab Fab" canon.
During Pride Week in New York City, in 2002, Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders served as judges at an Edina & Patsy-lookalike competition at a gay bar.
Graham Norton announced his cameo on his Instagram profile. Years before the film was announced, he interviewed Jennifer Saunders on this talk-show The Graham Norton Show (2007) and revealed his own excitement for the possibility of the film.
90 drag queens will feature in the film.
Despite having worked as a successful comedy writer since the 80's, this marks the first time Jennifer Saunders has written a screenplay for a feature film.
Released 24 years after the original show began and four years after the last episode of the show was released.