Today, July 22, 2016, should be a national holiday: the #AbFabMovie hits American theaters! My dear friend Meredith Nassihi and I were AbFab fans way back in college, and I dearly wish I could see the film with her. However, second best was Meredith’s attending of a media screening and party in San Francisco and writing about it to share here.
You know, Mere and I working together on this kind of makes us a real life Patsy and Edina…albeit while sober, living in suburban homes with our husbands and kids, and while wearing little makeup and comfy clothes. At any rate, read on for her review and why this flick makes for a great night out without the kids.
Finding AbFab Love Again
Guest review by Meredith Nassihi
Oh Ab Fab. How I loved you. I happened across an Absolutely Fabulous marathon on Comedy Central while in college and watched for hours just humming with joy from laughing at the humor and vibrant audacity of these women. A wonderful and hilarious friend in college even dressed up as Patsy Stone for a costume party, complete with a red power blazer and giant askew French twist.
As my last four years as a stay at home mom of two darling girls has left a significant dearth of time for binge watching Comedy Central or pouring myself out of taxis, I am excited to see if the antics of Edina and Patsy still make me laugh uproariously and long to try my British accent out on unsuspecting strangers. (Speaking of accents, I’ve long known and regretted that mine are generally both terrible and geographically off. If I aim for Irish, it’s likely to come out Russian… Russian by way of Boris and Natasha. So I promise to keep the “sweetie-darlings” to as much of a minimum as I can.)
My partner in crime for this event was my younger brother, Michael. He is still living it up in the city and, while not game for anything starting before 11 a.m., is an easy touch for anything after nightfall especially since he was indoctrinated by two older sisters in his early teens into the wonderful world of Patsy and Edina.
I hadn’t been to an Alamo Drafthouse Cinema before, but I think I found my new favorite way to see a film – food and drink delivered right to your spacious seat complete with a table by waiters who seem to move without disrupting the fabric of the darkness. The screening was hosted by the world’s only live Absolutely Fabulous theatre group, the Royal British Comedy Theatre, and I have to say that everything is a little shinier now that I have hugged a 6’4 Edina Monsoon.
The beginning of the movie was practically its own caricature, complete with Edina pratfalling backwards out of her car, but Absolutely Fabulous on film was exactly as it should be. It felt intended for fans, with no pause to explain backstory to neophytes or even to fans who didn’t brush up on the series before watching the film. I loved so much of it but my brother, who has more recently seen the show, filled me in on things I was missing or were floating at the edge of my consciousness.
There was an actual plot and I found myself following that and wanting to see what happened next instead of only enjoying the glorious sight gags and revelry that took us on digressions worth traveling. The last third of the movie was a giant slapstick wonderland that had me belly laughing and gasping for breath as it ditched the conventions of plot and just focused on the sheer joy of having an audience onboard for the antics of this pair of anti-heroines.
I think the movie, like the show, will get even better on the second, third or thirtieth watching. The next morning I found myself thinking about certain gags and laughing as I drove my little ones off to their various summer activities, and I am excited to see it again. As I watched the movie I felt like it was crammed with too much to see and absorb in the first watching. A scene in a drag club called out for slow motion watching to see all the characters including one who was dressed up as Patsy in exactly the outfit my friend had worn all those years ago.
My brother enjoyed it as much if not more than I did and we giggled talking about it all the way back to my car. I did have a strange moment with my mask of Edina that was part of the movie swag – my five-year-old looked at it in the car and said that the woman was funny because she looked, “like she is both happy and sad at the same time. And also a little grumpy.”
Bravo to Jennifer Saunders for her acting skills as well as her writing ones. She created a movie that held on to the original magic of the show and left it with a fitting ending for these two fabulous dames.
Disclosure: This post is made possible by support from Fox Searchlight Pictures. All opinions are the blog owner and the author’s own.