Ever since Absolutely Fabulous swanned onto the BBC in 1992, there’s been talk of a feature-film adventure — and now, 24 years later, Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie has left Brexit-land to splash down on our shores. Moviegoers are now in the enviable position of spending decadent quality time with P.R. guru Edina “Eddy” Monsoon (Jennifer Saunders) and her fashionista and champagne-and-coke savant bestie Patsy Stone (Joanna Lumley). Diehard fans will find Eddy and Patsy even more AbFab on the big screen. The movie? Not so much. Too many locations, a convoluted plot, and second-tier celeb cameos distract from the wonders of Lumley and Saunders, who make 60 look like the new 40. OK, not really. But the efforts of Eddy and Patsy to hold back the ravages of time — Patsy carries her own Botox injections — may nudge out a sniffle or two, that is when you’re not spitting up from laughing.
Saunders — who created the cult-comedy series that ran on-and-off till 2012 — has scripted the movie and widened its scope. The ramshackle TV show, set mostly set in Eddy’s kitchen, has been opened up to include all of Eddy’s spacious London digs as well as assorted fashion events and cocktail parties where Patsy can share, with Stella McCartney no less, her groupie memories of going down on daddy Paul. And Jon Hamm can recall with horror how Patsy took his virginity when he was 15. Lumley, a former Bond girl, offers a series of lascivious looks that are, in a word, priceless. Most of the TV cast is back, including June Whitfield as Eddy’s mom, Julia Sawalha as her tight-assed daughter, and wonderful Jane Horrocks as her bizarro assistant Bubble.
But the movie, directed by Mandie Fletcher, seems to think it needs to be about something. It appears that Eddy, at a posh runway show party, has murdered Kate Moss, giving the supermodel an inadvertent shove into the Thames while trying to recruit her as a client. As a result, Eddy and Patsy go on the run to the south of France, where Eddy can evade the police and Patsy can nab a rich husband. Too much? You bet. Too much is standard operating procedure for AbFab. “I’m fat and old and hated and nothing,” Eddy says at her lowest point. Nonsense. Saunders and Lumley are all about keeping the party going. So grab your Bolly, darlings, and party on.