Posted by: greercn | August 16, 2013

Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa

We roared with laughter, giggled and chortled as this absolutely hilarious comedy played.

Which is weird as a I am not a big Alan Partridge/Steve Coogan fan. But this frothy summer film is beautifully written, acted and directed. Really, it’s deeply loveable and very English, in many positive ways.

Alan is struggling to keep his radio job after a corporate takeover. Colleague Pat Farrell (Colm Meaney) isn’t as lucky and that’s (sort of) Alan’s fault.

So Pat takes the radio station and its staff hostage. 12 hostages, 24 hours and 1 Partridge, says a tagline. “Alpha Papa” tells the story of the siege.

Of course, Alan isn’t a very nice person and Pat is. You get the point that a decent man has been driven over the edge by awful events. Coogan and Meaney are both wonderful and physical actors and there are elements of French farce in the way they work together.

So many gorgeous comments are made about corporate newspeak, small mindedness and bitter divorce that it’s hard to pick out a favourite line. There is super commentary on the irritants of daily life and each detail is beautifully observed.

For me, the best moments are when Alan is miming along to Roachford’s “Cuddly Toy” and really rocking along as he drives. But scenes in which Alan loses his trousers and the police blow up a sandwich container sum up much of the feeding frenzy around big media stories.

The driving of the van to a pier pays homage to “Brighton Rock”. The claustrophobia of the studio is in sharp contrast to the endless space of Norfolk.

As a trivia fact for film geeks, about half of the movie was filmed on the cricket green in Mitcham, Surrey.

Directed by TV veteran Declan Lowney, the pace cracks along through all of the refreshing 90-minute length. The team of writers keep the pace sharp. The choice of music is just great. I adore “Cuddly Toy” but, like Alan, it isn’t hip with the kids.

Tim Key as Simon and Felicity Montagu as Lynn are the two standouts in a really terrific ensemble cast.

All of Stratford Picturehouse was creased up with laughter. Honestly, it’s a breath of fresh air in its superb comments on work, life and modern dilemmas.

This is the must-see comedy of the summer. Alan Partridge, we don’t want to be you, but we fear there’s a bit of you in all of us.

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