Film review: On the aptly-titled “Absolutely Fabulous”

July 31, 2016, 9:42 p.m.

“Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie” stumbles right into the audience’s lap, with everyone’s favorite self-destructing PR agent Edina “Eddy” Monsoon (Jennifer Saunders) dragging Patsy Stone (Joanna Lumley), her best friend and unhelpful enabler, along for the ride. “Absolutely Fabulous” advertises what is exactly on the tin: a wild ride full of tasteless jokes, heavy drinking and terrible decisions, and it is horribly entertaining. It relies heavily on tried and true comedy tropes, but that’s because it knows what it is. “Absolutely Fabulous” was not meant to redefine comedy; it was simply meant as a nostalgic reminder for those who loved the TV series before it.

When the sitcom first premiered in the 1990s, “Absolutely Fabulous” delighted British and American audiences with the sort of no holds barred, unapologetically vulgar humor that was not usually associated with an all female cast, much less two middle aged divorcees. Edina “Eddy” Monsoon is high-powered career woman in the PR business, while her best friend Patsy Stone  is a high profile magazine editor — they are living it up right at the very top of the entertainment business. The two use their excess resources to drink, party and experiment with any drug that shows up on the periodic table. They are vulgar; they are crass; they are terrible, terrible people, but in an industry full of sitcoms focusing on the male id, the show’s edginess paved way for many beloved female-centric comedies in the future.

And really, that is all you can expect out of the movie. The movie follows the characters’ same crazy antics, as Eddy must now revitalize her failing PR business by courting the attention of Kate Moss (played by herself). The movie skyrockets, bouncing off the walls, fed by the chemistry of the two female leads. Watching in 2016, with the rise of more female-centric comedies, “Absolutely Fabulous” does not feel refreshing or particularly groundbreaking — it relies on physical slapstick, Eddy’s mindlessness and the characters’ seemingly little common sense in order to drive its comedy — but it is a laugh from start to finish. While towards the end Eddy and Patsy’s antics began to feel a little stretched out and chaotic (as any TV show turned movie would), you are constantly waiting to see what terrible situation they’ll find themselves in next.

Seeing two middle aged divorcees desperately relive their youth should be something sad, but like the TV show before it, “Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie” hooks you in by appealing to your core: the part that’s a sucker for slapstick and vulgar jokes. It uses tried and true comedy tropes, but they are tried and true for a reason. While the movie often feels it is appealing to the lowest common denominator, you can’t help but be entertained the entire way.

Contact Jessica Xing at [email protected].

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