Review: Absolutely Fabulous The Movie (2016)


Welcome, sweetie darlings! First of all, bear in mind that “shallow” is not a dirty word. The original TV series (which ran for 47 episodes between 1992-2012) showcased the over-the-top characters of Patsy Stone and Edina Monsoon, modulated by Eddy’s daughter Saffron, a “norm-core,” bookish young adult who rebelled against their effusive ways with every bone in her body, and Eddy’s daffy yet oddly sharp mother. The brilliance of the show was that it was superficially poking fun at two aging youth- and beauty-obsessed alcoholics, but the underlying satire elevated it above other shows, and this movie expands the very best bits into a 90-minute trip back to their fabulous universe.


We get to revisit so many of the characters we love, such as Eddy’s ex Marshall and his American girlfriend Bo, rival P.R. agent Claudia Bing (Celia Imrie), and premiere client Lulu; British notables such as Kate Moss (whose disappearance motivates the entire plot), Jean-Paul Gautier, and Emma Bunton of the Spice Girls; as well as appearances by gay icons such as Graham Norton, Barry Humphries, and Chris Colfer (Glee). There are also more modern cameos, such as the hilarious Rebel Wilson, adorable Lily Cole, and regal Gwendoline Christie.

We begin by witnessing Patsy and Eddy’s entry into a fashion show, rebuffed by the glitterati for our heroes’ ridiculous over-the-top attempts to maintain relevance in the modern world, particularly in the fashion sphere. We then go back to Eddy’s home, and see that Saffron now has a daughter of her own, Lola, whose father is a wealthy man in Africa. Bubble is still Eddy’s personal assistant and as creatively ditzy as ever, although we do learn that she has financial savvy far beyond her seemingly airheaded persona. We follow them to A Magazine’s fashion exhibition of Yuki Muki, where Eddy uses Lola to gain the interest of a new PR client. Their desperate stalking of celebrities results in Kate Moss being presumed dead, and all the tabloids claim that Eddy is to blame. Eddy and Patsy have to struggle to regain their monetary footing once the Kate Moss incident is splashed across all media, and both lose their jobs. What choice do they have but to chase down a former lover in the south of France in the hopes of marrying into money? The glorious trip, from disguising their identities to escape the paparazzi, being tracked through a drag club, and what happens when Patsy meets her potential spouse, kept me laughing throughout.

Absolutely Fabulous originated as a comedy sketch by Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders, with the theme song, “This Wheel’s on Fire,” recorded by Saunders’ real-life husband, Adrian Edmondson (The Young Ones, Bottom). Modeling and the futile pursuit of youth and beauty was and will always be an always an issue amongst celebrities, and Absolutely Fabulous highlights some of the most ridiculous and awkward situations they put themselves into. From being a potential cult favorite to one of the most successful British sitcoms every aired, Ab Fab brought together all types of fans. It didn’t matter whether you were fat or thin, gay or straight, old or young, conventionally pretty or bizarre looking, this show would speak to you and make you feel accepted into the club. It made you view situations from both sides: do you want to party all the time like Eddy and Patsy, or be a stable homebody like Saffy? Or is there some happy medium? The 2016 movie features the theme song re-recorded by Kylie Minogue and brings the satire to a new generation. Will they recognize the pricking of their hyper-inflated self-importance, and will it lead to any deflation of ego?

Our audience was filled with all kinds of people, and there was much community spirit and joy. Don’t take the film too seriously, but do go along for the ride and enjoy spending time with Patsy, Eddy, Bubble, Saffy, and Lola! Remember: the key word is “shallow!”