An exercise in cracking physical humour teamed with witty lines, this character comedy showcases a fully formed and well treated move from TV icon to big screen feature. Along with ‘We’re the Millers’ this stood out as the finer comedies of 2013 and in fact this is the better of the pair.
Norwich radio station, North Norfolk Digital is being taken over by a modern and multinational group and will be re-branded as ‘Shape’. In this change one DJ could be axed and with a push from Alan Partridge (Steve Coogan) it lands with Irish Pat Farrell (Colm Meaney) being sacked. Pat then takes people hostage and Alan is the only one to stand up and serve as medium to the situation giving him desired attention but can he stop Pat’s mental breakdown?
As a longtime Partridge fan there’s plenty in here to approve of and for the newcomers there’s a nice level of comedy and general introduction to the tomfoolery of Partridge’s persona to bring you in suitably. I fit in between these two categories, not an aficionado of ‘Mid-morning Matters’ but I’ve seen pieces of his shows and know of his character enough. The film is a great balance for both camps and is broad enough to keep fresh Partridge peeps happy and quick on the Alan amazement to put smiles on the long time fans.
The Gibbons, Coogan, Armando Iannuucci and Peter Baynham collaborate on a wonderful and witty script that causes laugh out loud moments in a crazy trip of stupidity and fame craving. The character isn’t played around with or lost and though it’s taken to movie stretches, it’s never outlandish or striving to be more dramatic because of its new medium, this is why it most certainly succeeds. Perhaps the more subtle humour of the show is ridden for cinema but it works for this tale.
Being a Norwich citizen myself may also help a lot and provide more laughs in seeing our fine city being sent up but also being captured on screen in a few shots. It could easily have been studio based or filmed elsewhere but the film does a favour for keeping it local. The Norfolk setting is so quaint and tiny that it gives the movie another funnier edge based around this hostage scenario. Hollywood in the flats.
An outstanding tour de force of talent in mixing radio music and jingles with bonkers behaviour, the plot is perfectly structured and works so well with the soundtrack. Visuals play their part as they very well should in a comedy film, from shotgun holders to make-shift sporrans the film has all comedic angles covered, apart from the lesser of that genre; drag which gladly it skips, unlike the dreadful Mrs Brown which sadly made more money in its opening weekend than this clever funny film achieved in its entire run. Sad face.
Steve Coogan is a fantastic actor in making Alan someone you should dislike someone you love. The slapstick is never over the top but enough to demonstrate the sheer comedic timing Coogan can provide. It’s a quick and silly role that Coogan eats up and devours in every scene, giving the film its ruddy gifted siege face bonkers majestic wonder. Tim Key serves as great fool material in trying to keep up with Partridge. Colm Meaney is someone you root for even if he’s the one causing the problems.
I take great pleasure in saying this film is the way you want it to be: enjoyable, smart, silly, pleasing to old and new audiences and a gag filled comedy to watch over and over.