Wednesday 14 August 2013


I got a lorra laughs from this one, more than any film of recent years.
I've been a huge fan of Steve Coogan's Alan Partridge character since he first appeared on radio 20 years ago, then shortly afterwards on TV, as the self-absorbed, gormless, foot-in-mouth, obnoxious chat-show host - whose world shrinks around him while his ego refuses to
 downsize accordingly.

Here he is back on original territory as a Norfolk Local Radio D.J. offering brief homilies and 'pearls of wisdom' to his listeners - until one of his broadcasting colleagues (Colm Meaney) is given the push, something he himself helped to bring about, only to find himself at the centre of a hostage siege when said victim decides to exact vengeance for his mistreatment.    

I'd already seen the trailer for this film several times before and must admit that my heart had sunk because it looked like another of those cases where, in transferring a TV character to the big screen, it was opened up to such an extent that the whole reason why the original had been so successful is lost. A bigger budget doesn't always result in bigger laughs - in fact it's quite the reverse more often than not - but not so here. Actually it did take me about a quarter of an hour to get 'warmed up', but from then on it was laughter just about all the way - and on at least two of the 'episodes' side-splittingly so.  The success of the film also gains from it being a neat 90 minutes long, thereby not outstaying its welcome.

I can't say how it will play to those who don't know the Alan Partridge character from TV or radio, but I'm reasonably sure that they will also be amused. Whether the film will carry well outside the U.K. is also open to question, though much of the humour is earthy and universal. It may help to have a prior favourable disposition to wanting to like it, which I certainly did have - and I was in no way disappointed.

I'm tempted to score this with an '8', but sitting back and looking at it detachedly, I wouldn't want my verdict to be disproportionate in relation to some of the other excellent offerings so far this year. I think it will still finish in my 2013 Top 10 even if I give it a .........7.5.


  1. I can't believe all the films you're seeing. Like a grown-up! This sounds wonderful. I'd never heard of "Alan Partridge" and will now have to watch for this (and do some web surfing, too)!

  2. 'twas good...

    I've never particularly warmed to Alan Partridge (although, I suppose, you're not supposed to!) but I enjoyed the recent Sky Series (Mid Morning Matters) and accompanying specials.

    Even so, I too was worried that the film would stretch the joke too far! Glad I was wrong in that fear.

    It also worked well as a double bill - I saw this after seeing The World's End. Two great examples of British Comedy.

  3. Mitch - I think Alan Partridge is something you either get or you don't. I was onto it when he first appeared on the radio with his spoof chat-show, followed by the first series of this same idea on TV, which was a gem. The follow-up TV series where he had to live in a motel (having been sacked after accidentally 'shooting and killing' a guest on his TV show!) was almost as good, but not quite - while the third, where he'd been reduced to living in a caravan was also good, though again a notch lower than the previous series. I think this film restores the high standard of the original.
    Good luck on your searching him out. If you get the angle of the humour it'll stay with you a long time.
    Yes, it's unusual for me to be going to the cinema so often during school hols time. Uaually all the screens are packed out with inane block-busters at this time of year, but this Summer hasn't been bad at all.

    Andrew - pleased that you liked it too. I think that A.P., for all his many faults, has an endearing quality - but only as seen from a distance. I'd imagine he'd be irritating in the extreme to have to work with. I love seeing him get his frequent come-uppances, which he always treats as if water off a duck's back, totally oblivious to the negative impressions he makes.
    The film could have stretched out the situation to inordinate length, but with its very sharp script (thanks largely also to Ianucci) it steered an impressively pleasureable course without fading.

    I missed the 'mid-morning specials' as my computer was then giving a lot of trouble (it still is now, after 'repair', but in entirely different directions). Maybe I can try again and play them this time.

    I thought this film was far better than 'World's End'. The latter did have some really hilarious sections but was otherwise patchy, while I thought A.P. was consistently funny all the way through.

  4. Consensus of those I was with was that AP probably edged it.

    I think I prefered The World's End - although partly because I am squarely in target market of 40-ish blokes thinking about what may have been. The soundtrack is pretty special too - again for someone of my age (even if I wasn't a fan of some of the tracks first time round!)

  5. Andrew, W.E.s soundtrack WAS inpressive, even though I wasn't as familiar with some of the tracks used, whereas A.P.'s music was all reasonably or very well-known.
    Interesting that you thought the former was the better (and funnier?) film as, to my mind, there was hardly any comparison - though I repeat again that I thought W.E. was a good film too, though what let it down for me was lack of consistency and its over-stretched length.

  6. Like Mitchell, this is all new to me. Never heard of the actor, the character, nor the film. Time to explore.

  7. Steve Coogan is now a big name here, H.K., having developed as an 'alternative' stand-up comedian. Over the last 15 years or so he's taken on the persona of a number a number of characters, including a female one, the foul-mouthed, heavy-smoking and drinking Pauline Calf. But his oafish and self-absorbed Alan Partridge has always been the most successful and, I think, his best by far.
    Coogan has appeared in a number of American films, including 'Tropic Thunder', 'Night at the Museum' and the dismal re-make of 'Around the World in 80 Days'. He's also a serious actor and was notable recently in standing up to Rupert Murdoch's tabloid journalism. He's still to make his name internationally big-time and I think the best is yet to come. But his Alan Partridge just creases me.