Thursday, March 6, 2014

Film Review: Alan Partridge

Director: Declan Lowney    
Writers: Peter Baynham, Steve Coogan, Neil Gibbons, Rob Gibbons & Armando Iannucci
Featuring: Steve Coogan, Colm Meaney

Review by Allan Tong

Alan Partridge is British comedian Steve Coogan's alter ego: a wise-ass, self-absorbed radio and TV personality who has built a large following across the pond over the past 20 years.  On these shores, however, Partridge is essentially the late, great music impresario, Tony Wilson, whom Coogan portrayed in the brilliantly anarchic 24 Hour Party People (2002).

Here, in his self-titled (of course) big screen debut, Alan Partridge is basically the same egotistical fellow.  This time he's backstabbing a fellow DJ in Norwich, England when the greedy corporate owners decide to oust one of the veteran jocks.

The betrayed DJ is Pat Farrell (Irish acting veteran Colm Meaney) who goes berserk by holding the radio station employees hostage as he stays on air.  The only person Pat will talk to is Partridge.  Partridge acts as the conduit between Pat and the police, but is too busy fantasizing about killing Pat, rescuing the hostages and emerging a media hero to actually do any rescuing.

Fans of Coogan will adore this film which supplies a constant stream of verbal and physical quips.  Newcomers who "get" the Patridge character right off the bat will enjoy the next 89 minutes.  However, those who find Partridge an obnoxious wanker will tune out.  I doubt many will.

Coogan plays Partridge with enough self-deprecation (witness the escape scene when his underwear catches on a window as a trigger-happy paparazzi snaps away) to keep Partridge endearing, even likable.  Sure, the plot twists are unlikely, but hey this is a farce.  Is there any deeper message or redeeming value?  Answer: Are you kidding? 

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