Counting celebrity cameos in the AbFab movie could be the new drinking game, dahlink. But you’d need a bottle of Bolly or seven to do it justice, as there are about sixty famous faces on-screen in the much-awaited riotous romp. It is, of course, the big-screen manifestation of the over-the-top over-dressed and over-egged – in the best possible way – TV series. And it testifies to the pulling power of Patsy and Edina in these austere times, that it’s not just the fashion beau-monde who craved the bit parts. There are even people like news heavyweights Jeremy Paxman and Orla Guerin, who have weighed in on the gag.
For those who didn’t partake of the previous frothy funfest on TV, there are enough laughs to ‘get’ the now-aging and broke Edina Monsoon (Jennifer Saunders) and Patsy Stone (Joanna Lumley), but there’s an added comedy dimension if you are already across the antics of the pill-popping, botoxing, champagne-swigging pair. They may have run out of cash, but they are determined to top-up their always half-full glasses by whatever nefarious means they can. Their lipstick may be smeared, but their comic timing is as impeccable as ever, as they shop and club round London.
Julia Sawalha is back as Edina’s daughter Saffy, now with a daughter of her own and a bit of tragi-comedy too. Jane Horrocks returns as rather underwritten PA Bubble, something of a visual gag. But Kate Moss, Dawn French, Joan Collins, Alexa Chung, Rebel Wilson, Jon Hamm, Barry Humphries, Lily Cole, Emma Bunton, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Ruby Wax and others pad out a thin plot with ferocious verve.
Texan Jerry Hall bores for Britain on the red carpet, in as vacuous a conversation as any at Fashion Week and Scots singing veteran Lulu even gets to use the word ‘scunner’ on-screen. Translate it for any metropolitan chums that you have.
Blamed for a major incident, involving fashion icon Mossie, at an uber fashionable launch party, Edina and Patsy become entangled in a media storm and are relentlessly pursued by the paparazzi. They run for the hills – of the Riviera, natch.The duo ooze somewhat tarnished glitz and glamour, but in a delightfully retro touch, they flee penniless to Cap Ferrat and the glamorous playground of the super-rich, the French Riviera. There, they hope to blag a way to make their escape permanent and live the high life forever more – don’t we all. On the negative side, there are a couple of off-colour gags, that could have been expunged in the edit and 90 year-old veteran June Whitfield deserves more screen time, but on the whole, it’s fabulous fun. Fill up your champagne flute and enjoy.
by Liz Kennedy
Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie is certificate 15 and director Mandie Fletcher brings it in at a fizzing 91 minutes.