Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa review

Coogan brings his classic comic creation to the screen with this broad comedy that on the whole delivers consistent laughs. It makes good use of Norwich, that sleepy place where Mr Partridge is now a long-in-the-tooth radio presenter, and puts him in a Die Hard-style situation where a siege develops at the radio station he works at. His arch rival (Meaney) turns psycho after being sacked and takes over the beleaguered building, holding the remaining few presenters management types hostage. Partridge is brought in by the police to negotiate with him, but turns the troubling scenario to his advantage, his inept behaviour soon making him a celebrity again.

Some of the humour here is a little too broad for my taste – I didn't appreciate his bare arse on show at police gunpoint, for example, though others will doubtless will find it hilarious – but there's energy to spare and if one gag doesn't hit the mark another will soon be along to replace it.

The performers are all adept and deliver what's required of them, but in making the Partridge character more accessible, his sly wit has been somewhat bludgeoned. I did laugh out loud at times but strangely I didn't warm to the movie as much as I wanted to. Perhaps the comic action is over-egged; maybe the narrative becomes too cartoony by the end. Either way, Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa didn't hit me with the out-and-out hilarity it has greeted others. My loss perhaps, but I still can appreciate it for its relentless consistency in trying for laughs. British comedy movies have been moribund for a while now. Though this movie doesn't quite hit the bullseye, it's still an above average attempt.

Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa at IMDb

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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