Critics' Pick

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie (R)

Comedy 90 min. July 22, 2016
By April Wolfe
To understand what Absolutely Fabulous (first a TV show and now a movie) means to Brits, you'd have to go back to the TV premiere in 1992. Margaret Thatcher had had a stranglehold on their economy. The rich had gotten richer with tax cuts mirroring our own trickle-down Reaganomics and, with little control over economic trends, the only thing left to do was make fun of the wealthy. Edina Monsoon (Jennifer Saunders) and Patsy Stone (Joanna Lumley), two hard-drinking, youth-obsessed bacchanalian ne'er-do-wells, were fit for the skewer. Now, in this post-Brexit world, they are back once again to lampoon the swells, the racists, the tech-and-vanity addicted.

It's best to look at Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie as an ultra-long episode of the show. Everyone's back, from Eddy's normal, put-upon straight-woman child Saffron (Julia Sawalha) to dim-witted personal assistant Bubble (Jane Horrocks), with her outrageous high-fashion parody outfits. Now, Saffron's 13-year-old daughter Lola (Indeyarna Donaldson-Holness) is in the picture and recruited by everyone's two favorite lushes to stick it to her mom and join the party, but mostly because Edina's out of money ("My cards are broken!") and Lola's got good credit. Eddy's only hope to get back on top (and fill up the champagne cooler) is to nab Kate Moss as a PR client. Unfortunately, she instead accidentally pushes Moss into the Thames, killing her.

Edina and Patsy are like Lucy and Ethel in the chocolate factory, only replace the chocolate with cocaine, eternal-youth fetal-cell injections, bolly (champagne) and cigarettes. The art of physical comedy is alive and well with Saunders and Lumley, who precisely calculate each well-timed tumble.
Mandie Fletcher Jennifer Saunders, Joanna Lumley, Julia Sawalha, Jane Horrocks, June Whitfield Jennifer Saunders Jon Plowman, Damian Jones Fox Searchlight

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