Movie review: Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie

They dress like a Vogue magazine photo shoot on steroids, Patsy's still got a stash of drugs hidden in her hair and Edina continues to tumble drunk out of cars - yes, little has changed since Edina Monsoon and best friend Patsy Stone hit our television screens in the early 90s.

It's like the old days sweetie darling - just with social media.

Fans will appreciate that Edina and Patsy are as selfish and self-destructive as we remember. Likewise, Edina's dour daughter Saffy (Julia Sawalha) is still living at home and, it appears, hasn't bought any new clothes in 24 years, while Edina's quirky mother Gran (June Whitfield), like the rest of the characters, simply refuses to age.

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After renovating her London basement and adding an indoor pool, Edina discovers there's no Bollinger in the fridge, and she's broke. On cue her ex-husband announces he's no longer able to support her financially as he's saving money for a sex change, and her book deal falls through - leading Eddy to realise she'll have to work to support her and Patsy's lifestyle.

Apart from the new digs, it's a pretty standard Absolutely Fabulous setup so far.

Word on the street is that Kate Moss is looking for new representation, but during a bid to win Kate over as a client Edina accidently pushes the supermodel into the River Thames - a Brexit-sized drama that sees Edina become the most hated woman on Twitter.

In response, Patsy and Edina do what they do best, a runner to the South of France.

At this point Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie becomes absolutely ridiculous, as Patsy tries to find a wealthy man - or woman - to marry, allowing the girls to live out their dream hedonistic life on the Riviera.

The hilarious Joanna Lumley - whose ignorance of "hand money", Botox self-administration, Tinder adventures and famous sneers and snarks, saves the silliness of it all - will have you laughing out loud.

Jennifer Saunders' Edina is now a terrible mother and a terrible grandmother, and it's hard to sympathise with her as she contemplates the difficulties of being a publicist in the age of social media. Not that any of her clients - Lulu and Baby Spice - are likely to trend anytime soon. And that's the problem with this feature-length television show; even when it tries to be current it feels dated.

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie stars Emma Bunton, Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley.
Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie stars Emma Bunton, Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley.

The fashion industry cameos aren't as awkward as they were in the recent Zoolander 2, but they're not terribly funny either. Jerry Hall's self-depreciating gag, where she never stops talking about herself and the label she's meant to name-drop, may have been funny on paper but doesn't translate to the screen.

And though it's fun having models and fashion designers in on the joke, it's tough expecting them to deliver lines. Stella McCartney and Jean Paul Gaultier are particularly wooden.

Those who act for a living - such as Jon Hamm, Rebel Wilson and Game of Thrones' Gwendoline Christie - fare somewhat better, but no one holds this show together better than dear old Patsy.

If you're after a cheap laugh you'll get one here, but these fabulous ladies are better off sticking to the television screen.

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie

Cast: Jennifer Saunders, Joanna Lumley Director: Mandie Fletcher
Running Time: 90 mins
Rating: M (Offensive language, sexual references, drug use)
Verdict: As shallow and fun as its lead characters.

- TimeOut

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