Is this the end of the road for Eddy and Patsy?
Absolutely Fabulous, The Movie – reviewed by Brian Slade
Many people may think that turning a sitcom into a movie was largely a 1970s practice, with the likes of On the Buses, Porridge, Bless This House and Are You Being Served? among many that transferred to the big screen. It’s a practice done less frequently in modern times, but if anybody was going to do it in recent years, who better than everybody’s favourite champers-swigging duo, Patsy and Eddy, in the 2016 big screen adventure Absolutely Fabulous, The Movie.
When we last met Patsy and Eddy in the final of their 20th anniversary specials in 2012, Eddy was bemoaning how doors were closing as she was aging, dreaming as she was of opening the London Olympic Games while Patsy lit a cigarette from the Olympic torch.
Four years on and the ladies are back, making a spectacle of themselves when they make a disruptive appearance at London Fashion Week and inevitably after the subsequent parties, they stumble out of the car back home with champagne flowing through their veins. Next day is book submission time, a welcome distraction from the problems at home – Eddy’s ex’ ending divorce payments as he wants gender reassignment surgery, and more worryingly the wall to wall wine coolers are completely out of Bollinger.
“You think your life’s interesting, but it isn’t” says the publisher as he dismisses Eddy’s autobiography submission. Modern PR has left Eddy behind. Nobody has been feeding her Twitter and she has only two clients left. But when hearing something she wasn’t supposed to – Kate Moss has left her PR company – Patsy can’t wait to tell Eddy in the hopes of rescuing their agency. Trouble is, she was on speaker phone when she delivered the news to Eddy, who was fumbling her way through a PR awards lunch, so rivals will be vying for Moss’s signature.
The ladies hatch a plan to get Kate Moss on side at a major fashion event that evening, but all doesn’t go to plan. While Patsy distracts Moss’s male companion, Eddy tries to corner Kate to get her on board. But in a rush to reach her before rival Claudia Bing (Celia Imrie), she accidentally knocks the supermodel into the River Thames! The world is thrust into mourning, but the girls’ lives are in tatters. Patsy loses her job for her indiscretion, but Eddy’s life is worse. Out on bail, she is receiving death threats by the bucket load.
Attempts to locate Moss by getting loyal assistant Bubble (Jane Horrocks) to search the Thames result only in losing Bubble too, so the ladies take the most desperate of options – convincing 13-year-old granddaughter Lola (Indeyarna Donaldson-Holness) to help them escape to the continent (along with the money she has from her father’s credit cards), arriving in Cannes for a new life.
Plans to afford their lifestyle longer term rest on Patsy wooing and marrying a mega rich mogul from her past, Charlie (Barry Humphries). The plan fails badly as Charlie is horrified by the idea. As luck would have it though, Patsy is able to find herself a rich baroness (Marcia Warren) once she has been turned into a man, Pat Stone. As things seem to be going well, the police catch up with the pair after Lulu and Eddy’s daughter Saffy (Julia Sawalha) track their whereabouts.
The movie sums up the best of the television series. As well as the leading pair, the supporting trio of Mo Gaffney, Christopher Ryan and the hysterical Dame June Whitfield (in her final film) return to their small screen roles. There is a seemingly endless run of cameo guest stars, including Graham Norton, Dame Edna Everage, Kathy Burke, Dawn French, Rebel Wilson, Jerry Hall, Stella McCartney, Joan Collins, Christopher Biggins and Gloria Hunniford to name just a sample.
Much talk has continued as to whether the film really is the end of the road for Eddy and Patsy. If it is, then without spoiling the movie’s finale, it is an apt way to believe the pair are living out their days. So open the Bolli’ and raise a glass to Saunders’ wonderful creation and their wildest adventure. Thank you sweeties…
Related Link: Absolutely Fabulous – the TV series
Published on May 1st, 2022. Written by Brian Slade for Television Heaven.