Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa DVD Review

Alpha Papa sees Alan Partridge (Coogan) taking to the silverscreen for the first time in his 20-year career. For Partridge it has been patchy (from BBC Chat show host to Regional Digital Radio Broadcaster) but for Coogan the character has gone fromstrength to strength. With TV, Internet Show and Autobiographyall under his belt, a feature length film seems the next logical step. However, with the promise of “heavy kissing and guns” the question whether the former Military-based Quiz Show Host could make the transfer without losing that certain ‘Alaness’ was a concern, especially with so many TV comedy treasures failing heavily when making the cinematic jump (In Da House still being a hard, cold turd to polish). While being extremely popular, Partridge also has the added gift of still feeling like a niche affair, so whether the film would transfer to a wider audience while running for longer period of time was always a risk.

The film see’s Alan become embroiled in a siege at North Norfolk Digital Radio’s HQ with sacked radio host Pat Farrell (Meaney) taking his former colleagues hostage. As the siege goes on Alan becomes head negotiator with what follows becoming an increasingly farcical tale that indeed delivers on the promise of “heavy kissing and guns” albeit with Norfolk’s favourite son at the helm.

The over the top storyline allows the writers to show Partridge in situations too overblown for the lovingly humdrum events of the television series. Any fears of Alan himself being swept away with the Hollywood style plot are soon quashed with the opening scene: a Partridge rendition of Roachford’s 1988 classic “Cuddly Toy”. Towards the final inevitable shootout the plot does occasionally flag, getting in the way of allowing Alan to simply be Alan, but still each line Coogan delivers is still so perfect,every facial expression so Alan, that it can be forgiven.

With occasional back references to his son Fernando, returningcharacters such as PA Lynn (Montagu) and another great Alan love scene, the film still manages to keep the partridge pilgrims (or partrigins if you will) happy. Although some broader comedic moments (Alan losing his trousers) seem a little forced, these are few and far between. The supporting cast are strong with ColmMeaney playing washed up radio gunman Pat Farrell, getting the right balance between comedy and threat. This allows the storyline to generally zip along while still maintaining the amount of laughs per minute needed for a wide release feature film. However If anything the best decision by the writers was to keep to the traditional Alan formula, allowing Coogan the spotlight andletting the supporting cast such as Geordie friend Michael (Greenall) to act as springboards for more Partridisms.

Moving to the big screen was a big risk but has allowed Alan to be shown in a new arena with higher stakes. In the end the storyline doesn’t matter, Partridge is still funny, 20 years of character development and backstory mean it is impossible not to feel empathy for the man, even if he is “a bit of a shit”. Alpha Papa proves he can excel in the more surreal and overblown events of the film as well as the more sedate storylines of the series. Throughout he is still the regional broadcaster and with the sequel rumours already spreading, needless to say this is not going to be Alan’s last laugh. Back of the net!

About The Author

A/V Writer

Matt is currently juggling a full time course in Moving image (BA) with working as a Nurse in London and also live VJing on the weekends with Pete. A movie fan since a young age, Matt has very varied taste from Hollywood blockbusters, indie films, asian cinema and also traditional animation and japanese anime. Matt works mainly on our A/V and film event coverage but also reviews films for Front Row.

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