Absolutely Fabulous, Sitcom
A show brilliant in its uncensored bad behavior and satirical humor, this series features Edina and Patsy, two hard-drinking, drug-taking, completely and outrageously selfish middle-aged women. Their cruel humor focuses on the hypocrisy of today’s society, much to the chagrin of Edina’s more moral and conservative daughter, Saffron.
absolutely fabulous, the movie
A film that strives to be a bigger, bolder version of it’s 30-minute sitcom series, Ab Fab is sadly, just louder, sadder and more frenetic. Granted, I have never found inebriated women falling down a laugh riot. Watching this film felt like recovering from a hangover with vapid people shouting inane things while wearing outlandish outfits…without the benefit of a cocktail or painkillers to relieve the headache.
Even if you’re a fan of the sitcom or a fashionista, the jokes are tired and the cameos do little to liven up the action. The best moments are the fantasy sequences when Edina (Jennifer Suanders) and Patsy (Joanna Lumley) are shown as powerful, desirable women. Yes, they are still completely selfish hedonists but they’re also a lot of fun. And the clothes are fabulous: tacky, loud and outlandish. If you haven’t seen the sitcom, you’d be hard-pressed to understand who many of these characters are, how they’re related or why they’d even put up with this chaos. Bubbles (Jane Horrocks) steals the show with her outfits and snide comments but I found I was more exasperated than Saffron (Julia Sawalha) with the broads behaving badly schtick.
There are moments of levity. Watching the two of them hoover drugs and swill champagne while trying to think of outlandish solutions to their dilemma is amusing. Once the pair abscond with Lulu (Indeyarna Donaldson-Holness) and more importantly, her Daddy’s credit card — the movie gets a needed boost from the beauty in Cannes. Plus there’s a sweet subplot with a marriage proposal that shows a much-needed, softer side to Patsy. A more daring approach would have been to show a genuine relationship develop there; character growth instead of just wish fulfillment.
Any genuine emotions expressed by the characters are negated by undermining the moment with a lazy reveal (it’s an empty bed, she’s really alive, she’s not a she) and a quick change of scene to more frenetic action. There’s lots of razzle dazzle and lord knows, no one is looking for substance beyond two sozzled, aging broads who genuinely seem to care for each other…but you may find yourself wishing for at least one of those champagne flutes with a topper of vodka!
Rating: one flute out of five