Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa (2013)

Big screen adaptions of such well loved TV shows so often equal disaster. Director Declan Lowney has what appears to be the right CV to make this work, having worked on Father Ted, Cold Feet and even Little Britain; however herein lies the problem. What could have been an epic display of outrageous Alan-isms, coming at you loud and ridiculous from every corner of North Norfolk, actually seems rather more like a piece of pretty average TV work that would just about secure a slot on BBC Three post 11pm. There are sporadic moments of genuine comedy gold for sure, not least during the first scene when we see Alan blasting out drive time classic ‘Cuddly Toy’ by Roachford, miming along in such a cringeworthy way that makes you feel for a moment like he really doesn’t know you’re watching, but what follows is sadly a very patchy and somewhat lazy big screen adaption of a British TV legend that could well leave both hardcore Alan fans and newbies alike feeling rather deflated.

The storyline hooks around the fact that North Norfolk Digital is in the midst of a takeover by corporate bad boys Goredale Media. When Alan’s fellow DJ Pat Farrell (Colm Meaney) gets the inevitable chop, he goes a bit doolally (to say the least) and returns to the station’s HQ, complete with weapon and a sizeable chip on his shoulder. What follows is a rather obscure and drawn out siege, whereby Pat holds the majority of the station DJs and of course the boss of Goredale media, hostage. The various quirks of the siege are pretty forgettable, ranging from Pat demanding they compose him a new jingle, to the classic sneak-weapon-in-via-a-pizza-box gag.

The siege genre doesn’t really allow for much surprise, especially when using it in the context of a comedy. We know they’ll be freed, we know there won’t be any fatalities, which means all that’s left is the question of how Pat and Alan will fill the duration of the siege with moments that are both funny and tense at the same time. This is what they never quite achieve – the moments of tensity actually border on being pretty distasteful, of particular note being the saucepan-esque headpiece Pat makes one of his hostages wear, allowing him to permanently rest his shotgun pointing at his head. The comic moments are more warm and fuzzy than slide-splittingly funny, which is without a doubt a symptom of the fact the genre – ironically – holds the film hostage for its duration, never really allowing it to just relax and indulge itself in its protagonist, instead plodding through the motions.

Sorry AP, you may be a ‘homosceptic’, but after that film many may now be ‘Alansceptic’.

2 out of 5
The odd nugget of comic genius doesn’t make up for the fact this film is altogether forgettable.

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