Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa is like a gift that keeps on giving.
I was very sceptical that if an Alan Partridge movie was made – after all this time the character has been around – it would never live up to the his TV appearances, particularly the first series of I’m Alan Partridge (as I was quite disappointed with the second, which suffered largely from a poor script but also from some very bad ‘elderly’ make-up applied to Coogan). Thankfully, he looks back to his more youthful self, even though the character is now aged 55. You could wonder at first if they’ve gone back in time a little for this movie, but a reference to living in a caravan, as well as the fact we know North Norfolk Digital is his latest job – given his “Mid-Morning Matters” Youtube short films – points that this is not the case.
However, I am pleased to report that not only does this film make you laugh loudly, it also does it consistently. And for any film in 2013 to be considered consistent is another plus, given the number of over-long movies we’ve seen released this year, many of which were over two hours long and could easily have had a good 45 minutes, at least, snipped out of them – Django Unchained being the main offender.
A particular case of cracking up came when the theme from Ski Sunday was played. I so wish this had been allowed to be heard in full as the accompanying visuals are expertly handled and I would’ve lapped up so much more. There’s also a rather silly moment where Alan’s trousers come off, but it’s handled so well it could actually be believeable.
Alan Partridge sings Roachford’s Cuddly Toy
which appears as the opening credits in the film.
There’s even a decent story which gives Alan Partridge a reason to be on the big screen: North Norfolk Digital is being taken over by Gourdale Media, headed up by Jason Tresswell (Nigel Lindsay), and has had its name changed to “Shape – the way you want it to be”, basically killing the original station and replacing it with homogonised disposable pop 24/7. This reminded me, particuarly, when a wonderful station in Stockport, KFM Radio, which ran in the late 80s and its DJs included Craig Cash and Caroline Aherne, was changed to Signal Cheshire in September 1990, meaning they changed overnight from the best indie music in the North West… to Kylie & Jason. It was as welcome as a kick in the balls with a rusty razor.
Anyway, as a result of the takeover, long-standing DJ – but a dinosaur in the modern era – Pat Farrell (Colm Meany) is getting the boot and exacts his revenge by holding everyone hostage during a party at the station to celebrate the new beginning. Well, everyone except Alan who’s just nipped outside to talk to Lynn. An additional side plot is also added in a possible romance between Alan and fellow DJ Angela (Monica Dolan).
At this point I’d start to go into detail about how good or bad the cast are, but… this is Alan Partridge. Everyone’s exactly as they need to be to give a piece of top-rate entertainment.
Go to page 2 for more thoughts on the film.
Alan Partridge attends the police briefing.
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.