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Absolutely Fabulous (0/10)

by Tony Medley

Runtime 90 minutes.

Not for children.

A year ago I bought a watch I could wear to screenings. It was my enemy in this screening because as I was agonizing my way through the film I finally looked at my watch after what seemed like three hours. Only 30 minutes had elapsed! Egads!! I continued to consult with this uncooperative appendage innumerable times but it rarely seemed to change times despite what seemed to me to be the passage of an enormous amount of time. When final credits finally flashed on the screen, I thought I had to be careful to not trip on what I figured must be a Moses-style beard that had grown during the screening as I exited the screening room.

As you must have determined by now, this was one of the worst, most annoying films I’ve had to sit through in years. “Absolutely Fabulous” (or “Ab Fab”) has apparently been a wildly successful sitcom on British TV for a quarter century. I have spoken with a fan of the series who watched the film and loved it, so it clearly has an audience. Alas, I am not a part of it.

Writer/star Jennifer Saunders got the idea for the sitcom and this film from a London PR fashion maven, Lynn Franks. She created the character, Edina “Eddy” Monsoon, and her daughter, Saffy (Julia Sawalha) and best friend, Patsy (Joanna Lumley) along with Eddy’s 13 year-old granddaughter Lola (newcomer Indeyarna Donaldson-Holness).

Unfortunately, even though this is obviously intended to be a parody or satire, it is so hopelessly silly it commands no involvement whatsoever in either the characters or the story. Just as an example, near the beginning of the film Eddy is pitching a book she has written to a publisher. They discuss it. He says he doesn’t understand it and then we see the text. It is page after page after page of the word “blah.” That’s all that’s in the manuscript. Could there be anything more foolish?

The plot is that the bumbling Eddy accidentally pushes supermodel Kate Moss into the Thames and everyone think she’s dead, so she and Patsy flee to the Riviera where they are pursued by the gendarmes. The characters Eddy and Patsy are so outlandish they cannot be taken seriously even as parodies of human beings. They appear in every scene; there is no respite from them.

There are so many scenes that wouldn’t even pass the smell test for a 1940s Donald Duck cartoon. From the very outset I felt trapped in a disaster, like I was on a freeway when a bridge collapsed right in front of me and there’s no way out with cars in front of me, beside me, and behind me. Instead of getting better, it got worse. Generally when I’m sitting in a horrible film I console myself that at least I will be able to write a review, but sitting through this thing was such an ordeal that even that was no consolation.