Publicist Edina Monsoon (Jennifer Saunders) and best friend Patsy Stone (Joanna Lumley) are still shopping, drinking and clubbing their way around London’s trendiest hot spots. While attending an elite party, they wind up knocking supermodel Kate Moss into the River Thames. Her untimely demise creates a media firestorm, leading the paparazzi to relentlessly pursue the hapless duo. Seeking refuge, the gals flee to the French Riviera where they hatch a plan to make their escape permanent and live the high life forever.
If you had followed me on Twitter, then you would have known that I missed this one on Saturday:
Long day finally caught up with me and I'm pretty sure I fell asleep during Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie. On the fence about going back.
— Keith Noakes (@keithlovemovies) July 30, 2016
The secret to seeing 109 films so far this year is to not let anything go so here it is a few days later. Seeing everything means eventually running into things you know nothing about and this was the case here. I know its based on a British TV show but I haven’t seen it so I’m unfamiliar with the characters so I obviously can’t speak to how both relate to each other. Despite that, it still could work out.
Edina (Saunders) and Patsy (Lumley) are getting older and their partying ways are starting to get to them. Running into money troubles, Edina, with the help of Patsy, attempts to defeat her rival Claudia Bing (Celia Imrie) woo supermodel Kate Moss as a client. Things don’t exactly go according to plan as Moss gets inadvertently knocked into a river, creating a media backlash, resulting in Edina getting the ire of the public. To get away from the paparazzi, Edina, Patsy, and Edina’s granddaughter Lola (Indeyarna Donaldson-Holness) escape to Cannes, France.
This is when things really got going here as Edina and Patsy were on the prowl for a rich husband in order to solve their money woes. Over their time in Cannes, Edina comes to terms with where she is at this point in her life. She just doesn’t want to be fat and keep the party going and she realizes more and more that this was no longer the case. The film also explored the relationship between Edna and her daughter Saffy (Julia Sawalha) who didn’t want Edina and Lola’s relationship to be the way hers and Edna’s was. These subplots helped to ground the film and break up its more silly moments.
This may be due to unfamiliarity but a lot of the film’s comedy came from old jokes and the contrast between these two older women with the people of today. Edina and Patsy are too old for their partying lifestyle. This aspect kind of worked here, featuring some funny moments but just as many sad moments. This is where the unfamiliarity hurt the most as a lot of the humor is catered more for fans of the original TV show so some of it goes over the head which did not come as much of a surprise. The film also makes several references to the TV show, banking on relationships between these characters that were mostly new.
Despite all of that, Saunders and Lumley were great as Edina and Patsy and were both fun to watch through all their hijinks. What made them fun was their great chemistry which makes sense after playing these characters for so long. All of the other acting was good too, most notably Sawalha’s Saffy who was a very likeable and relatable character who constantly tries her best to manage everything. Those who pay attention may also be rewarded as the film boasts a multitude of cameos, offering people you may know but mostly people who you probably don’t know. Considering Edina and Patsy work in the fashion industry, there are many references that people may not understand.
Overall, while this was obviously not for me, there was still some fun to be had but fans of the TV show will find more enjoyment.