Anyone that lives in the UK will know the name Alan Partridge. This character, created by Steve Coogan and Armando Ianucci, has been a presence in the UK on TV and radio for the past 21 years and now the charms of Partridge’s casual racism and sexism have been brought to the big screen with Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa. One of the best comedies that has been made this year.
The plot of the film is incredibly simple, it’s just Die Hard in a radio station, created after Partridge got a fellow DJ (Pat Farrell) at North Norfolk Digital radio station sacked to save his own skin as part of the takeover of the station by a media conglomerate. Since Farrell will only talk to Partridge, he has to become the face of the siege, whilst also trying to save his career. This is an incredibly simply plot but it really fits the character of Alan Partridge for the big screen. It allows Alan to fully be himself in a dangerous environment which is on the right side of absurd which works to the films advantage. This also allows some incredibly absurd scenes to play out, along with some the typical offensive dialogue that has defined Alan Partridge since the character was created, with Steve Coogan, Armando Ianucci, Neil Gibbons, Rob Gibbons and Peter Baynham being on top form in the writing side. The problem with reviewing a film like this though is that if I fully say how good the jokes in the film are, I would end up ruining the jokes so I’m going to end my thoughts on the plot and the jokes here.
The performances in the film are really funny as well. Colm Meaney brings a lot of humour to Pat Farrell whilst also providing some real heart to the film and the more straight elements of the character make him a perfect comic partner with Alan. Felicity Montague is brilliant as always as Alan’s long suffering PA Lynn, really making you wonder just how a person like this can stand working for such an arse as Alan, bringing in a lot of sympathy for the character for just how bad a situation she’s in. Darren Boyd, Sean Pertwee, Nigel Lindsay and Anna Maxwell Martin all do great work in their smaller roles whilst I think the comedic talents of Tim Key and Simon Greenall are a bit wasted by the limited roles, especially Greenall as his character Michael is one of the best characters from the Alan Partridge TV shows and he has very little to do in this film, although the joke with him at the end of the film is one of the comedic highpoints of the film. I also think that adding Monica Dolan as Angela, a love interest for Alan, is a bit pointless and doesn’t really do anything to advance the jokes or the plot of the film in the long run. The standout of the film though is Steve Coogan as Alan Partridge. He is just as good as ever as Partridge, bringing in the right-wing, incredibly offensive nature that made Alan popular to the big screen without him being watered down. All of the cringeworthy humour expected from Coogan’s portrayal of Partridge is present, he works brilliantly with all the other cast members and you can tell that Coogan is having a great time playing the character again.
Overall, Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa is a really funny film. While some of the cast don’t really get a lot to do, the brilliance of Steve Coogan makes up for it and the sheer variety of jokes on hand, from verbal to physical to background, made me laugh all the way through and the fact that this has beaten Grown Ups 2 in the UK box office makes me hopeful for the future of good comedy.
My Rating: 4.5/5
Quick sidenote: I’ve just done a little check and I’ve found out that this is my 200th post on this blog. Thanks to all of you for reading my stuff over the past 3 years and 200 posts.