Cinematic Thoughts for Cinematic Minds
Director: Declan Lowney
In 1991 the character Alan Partridge was created for comedy radio series ‘On the Hour’. Soon after his TV debut on ‘The Day Today’ with the rest of his radio accomplices, Steve Coogan went on to portray Partridge as the central character in a series of hit shows including ‘Knowing Me, Knowing You With Alan Partridge’ and the award-winning ‘I’m Alan Partridge’.
Now Norfolk’s best-loved, socially inept DJ returns with his very first feature film. Does it live up to the lofty expectations created by the legendary exploits of this much loved comic creation? Will fans of the TV series take to Alan on the big screen? Read on.
North Norfolk Digital radio station is undergoing a transformation under new management. The corporation now in charge intends to modify its broadcasting by employing younger DJs, changing the station’s name to ‘Shape’ and doing away with shows that involve pensioners calling in and discussing their favourite rivers. Alan is unworried by all this, unlike his close friend and colleague Pat Farrell (Colm Meaney of Star Trek fame) who believes radio is about to lose its soul and he, his job.
Partridge agrees to put in a word for him with the top brass but to his alarm, discovers that he, along with Pat, is also precariously close to getting laid off. Naturally, Alan frantically persuades the bosses to get rid of Pat instead. However, Pat’s sacking is hardly smooth as he takes the station at gunpoint along with its staff. Only one hope remains – our eponymous non-hero has escaped and now has to help the police work a dialogue with Pat and resolve the issue without bloodshed. Packed with all the intelligent and cringe-inducing humour that’s come to be associated with the name ‘Alan Partridge’ this film also exudes light-heartedness and is a pure joy to watch. Meaney’s character Pat is the closest thing there is to a villain but this film doesn’t get into too much of a tangle with regards to good and evil and every time without fail when some moment of sullen emotion crops up the mood is lifted almost instantly with a quick gag so at no point does the film get heavy enough for the overall tone to be suddenly and unequally shifted.
It’s consistent, it’s jovial, it’s fun and it’s another shot in the arm that British comedy and indeed comedy overall on the big screen has been looking for. The point that The World’s End oh so nearly reached and the point any American comedy film in recent memory has been struggling to touch on an intellectual level for quite some time now. As a fan of Partridge, I can say that this is another triumph to add to his glittering saga and I can say with certainty, as I have heard it from the horse’s mouth, that to a person yet unacquainted with Steve Coogan’s alter ego, Alpha Papa is thoroughly enjoyable.
As funny films go, it was textbook.