In bringing his iconic 1990s radio and TV character to the big screen, Coogan refreshingly refuses to play to American audiences: this film is purely British in its story, setting and characters. And as it gleefully redefines almost every action movie cliche imaginable, it's also one of the funniest films of the year. This is party due to the hilariously astute script, but also because Alan Partridge is both riotously embarrassing and utterly loveable.
As we meet him this time , Alan (Coogan) is trying to save his job at North Norfolk Digital when the radio station is bought by a corporation and turned in to Shape ("The way you want it to be"). In the process, Alan gets his colleague Pat (Meaney) sacked, and at the Shape launch party Pat goes postal with a shotgun, taking the staff hostage. As the police close in around the station, Alan becomes the chief negotiator, realising that this can only help boost his fame. But as he works on increasing his own publicity, Pat is menacing his on-air sidekick Simon (Key), while his offbeat security guard friend Michael (Greenall) finds a place to hide and his assistant (Montagu) has her own encounter with the media.
After all these years, Coogan is able to completely vanish into Alan's distinctive personality, saying all the wrong things at the wrong times while constantly getting distracted by irrelevant details. He only ever does the right thing by mistake. Yes, Alan is a buffoon, but he isn't stupid. Coogan plays him so perfectly that we can't help but like Alan even with his distinctive flaws. And the film actually generates a real sense of menace in this mini-Die Hard siege scenario, blending real danger with inspired physical comedy. And virtually every line of dialog has a joke in it.
Continue reading: Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa Review
Not so much a rom-com as an anti-romance comedy, this brightly amusing British film makes us laugh fairly consistently, although the story itself is pretty grim. It's also a problem that the plot and characters are contrived and inconsistent. Even so, there's enough jaggedly hilarious humour in here to make it worth a look, complete with a superior cast that knows how to make the very most of even the smallest role.
The film opens with the lavish wedding of Josh and Nat (Spall and Byrne), although their friends and family not-so-secretly wonder if the marriage will last. Over the coming months, Josh's best mate Danny (Merchant) tries to distract them with inappropriate jokes, but the tension between relatives Naomi and Hugh (Driver and Flemyng) only reminds them how much work marriages require. After nine months, they begin seeing a therapist (Colman) who encourages them to try to make it to their first anniversary. But Josh is thinking about rekindling romance with an ex (Faris), while Nat is falling for the charms of a sexy client (Baker).
Essentially a collection of comedy set-pieces, the plot lurches around in search of ways to lampoon relationships, often in the rudest way possible as people say the worst things at the wrong times. Along the way there are some hilarious sequences, such as a humiliating game of charades or a ridiculous attempt at a threesome. Each set-up is are seized upon by expert improvisors like Merchant and Key (as a pessimistic insurance salesman). And the funniest moments in the film belong to Colman, who makes the most of every scene-stealing opportunity, and Driver, who expertly delivers a constant stream of withering insults.
Continue reading: I Give It a Year Review
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