Then when I saw some very indifferent reviews of this film, not one of which was especially enthusiastic, I was pretty sure that I was unlikely to feel favourably towards it. In the event, enjoyment was considerably more than I'd expected.
Much of the film's criticism seems to stem from the material being too thin to sustain a full-length feature, though it's still just 90 minutes long. (One of the attractions of the TV shows was their densely-packed concision). However, I did think that it held interest pretty well.
The story is, basically, that Edina (Jennifer Saunders, also the film's writer) and Patsy (Joanna Lumley, particularly good as ever - complete with her trademark snarly put-downs), living the high-life on a continuous binge with no regard as to from where the money comes, go to a bling-bling fashion do on the banks of the Thames where, among many of the guests doing cameos is model Kate Moss chatting while perched on a wall, when Edina, anxious for her presence to be known, accidentally pushes her off and into the river, where it's assumed she's drowned. This is the pretext for the pair of them to, first lie low, and then to flee the country, ending up on the French Riviera, their 'natural' comfort zone, mixing with the super-affluent, who may, with a bit of cunning, be able to assist them in sustaining their prodigious lifestyle.
There have also been complaints from reviewers about the inflated number of cameos, and there certainly are a lot of them - some delivering unfunny one-liners, some outstaying their welcome. But it didn't distract me as much as it might do for others. (The list of names contains almost a who's-who of gay men on current British television.) I recognised most but, sitting through the long end credits, there were quite a number of whom I'd not been aware when they were on-screen - such as, which one was Perez Hilton?
All the regulars from the TV show are here - including, of course, Julia Sawalha as E's sensible, level-headed daughter - and June Whitfield, as Edina's mother, now looking very frail, which is hardly a wonder some twenty-plus years on. Jane Horrocks is again 'Bubbles', the ditzy character still as silly and unfunny as she was on TV.
Director Mandie Fletcher, who's done a great deal of TV work, also directed three of the original AbFab shows.
Some of the audience I was with thought the whole thing was riotously funny. I was far removed from that opinion yet was pleasantly surprised at how much pleasure I did, in fact, get out of it. A large part of it must be because I came to it with low expectations. So maybe if you're a fan of the originals you ought to try keeping a lid on your hopes, then perhaps you too will come out of the cinema feeling that you've had an enjoyable time....................7.