Friday, 10 June 2016

L.J. SPENCE'S STARTING POINTS: ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS: THE MOVIE

L.J. SPENCE'S STARTING POINTS

72. ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS: THE MOVIE (2016, dir. Mandie Fletcher)

10/06/2016


When you have a TV sitcom that has larger-than-life characters, it is a very sensible conclusion to make good use of them in a feature film, like "Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie" will do when it opens on Friday 1st July. I am sure the misadventures of Edina Monsoon and Patsy Stone on the French Riviera will make for a great story, especially as it had been done in an episode of the TV series in 1992, but the way it has been set up this time is also very similar to what happens when many other British sitcoms are played out on a bigger screen - the "sit" is changed.

Just as in both sets of films featuring Mr. Bean and The Inbetweeners, the 1991 "Miami Twice" episodes of "Only Fools and Horses," and 1970s fare like "Are You Being Served" and "Holiday On the Buses," something happens to force the characters away from where we normally see them. Going on holiday is usually the way to do it, but accidentally killing Kate Moss is the reason for Eddie & Patsy wanting to find somewhere else to go. 

The point of the exercise is to test the mettle of the people you think you already know, in a more challenging situation that makes them a fish out of water. In addition, by making what is hoped to be the "ultimate" version of the characters' story, the audience will then be moved to pay to watch it away from their living room.

However, a good situation creates the stories itself - the bar in "Cheers" acts as a place for disparate people to be pushed together, while "Open All Hours" relies on Arkwright and Granville being trapped within the confines of their corner shop. Mandie Fletcher will have already taken this into account, having previously directed both "Blackadder II" and "Blackadder the Third."

Will "Absolutely Fabulous" work outside the fast-moving bubbles of London, or New York? It depends on two things, namely if Eddie & Patsy take their situation with them, and if their film can avoid playing out like three episodes of the TV series strung together - you can watch that sort of thing at home.

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