Susan Granger’s review of “Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie” (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
On BBC-TV, off-and-on from 1992 to 2004, the cult sitcom “Absolutely Fabulous” was just that. As a full-length feature film, it’s only fair.
First of all, you’ve got to know who’s who and what’s what in order to understand anything. Otherwise, it’s like coming into the middle of a stranger’s glitzy party, knowing no one.
The plot revolves around the misadventures of two bawdy, Bollinger-boozing, middle-aged fashionistas. Enlisting the help of her BFF Patsy Stone (Joanna Lumley), British publicist Edina “Eddy” Monsoon (Jennifer Saunders) is determined to sign a new client: supermodel Kate Moss.
Edina lives in a palatial West London house which she shares with her elderly mother (90 year old June Whitfield), her prim, now-divorced daughter Saffron (Julia Sawalha) and 13 year-old grand-daughter Lola (model Indeyarna Donaldson-Holness).
With Edina’s personal assistant Bubble (Jane Horrocks) overpaying herself, times are tough. Her roster has dwindled to only two clients: singer Lulu and “Spice Girl” Emma Bunton. And no one wants to publish her memoir. So snagging Kate Moss is of utmost importance.
Predictably, everything goes wrong at the splashy launch party for designer Huki Muki (Janette Tough, a.k.a. Janet Krankie), forcing them to flee to the glittering, glamorous French Riviera, perhaps forever.
Saddled with little originality, screenwriter Jennifer Saunders and director Mandie Fletcher rely on campy vulgarity and lots of starry, self-reverential cameos, including Jerry Hall, Joan Collins, Rebel Wilson, Dame Edna (Barry Humphries), Stella McCartney, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Chris Colfer and John Hamm, who confesses he lost his virginity at age 15 to Patsy.
If you manage to stay through the final credits, you’re told you can now go back to watching kitten videos.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie” is farcical 5. It’s frothy but far from fabulous.