Back of the net for Partridge
IT'S very rare that a British comedy can successfully make the move from TV to big screen – for every Inbetweeners there's a Keith Lemon.
Fans of arguably the greatest comedy creation of the past 20 years held their fretless bass in tentative hands wondering if Alan Partridge could make the transition from Norfolk North Digital to the local multiplex.
Fear not, broadcasting's biggest buffoon is served well by original writers Steve Coogan and Armando Ianucci, and brothers Neil and Rob Gibbons, the new team behind Partridge online/TV series Mid Morning Matters.
Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa (15, 90 mins) sees his radio station taken over by a big media company. Alan (Coogan) manages to save his job by putting late-night DJ Pat Farrell (Colm Meaney) in the firing line who then takes the station hostage at gunpoint.
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With Pat refusing to talk to anyone but Alan, Norwich's most famous TV and radio presenter is called in by police to act as a negotiator ("I am Siege Face") and the safety of everyone is in his hands. Worryingly.
Let's get the negatives out the way first. Alan, who has started looking every inch his 55 years on TV, has had a makeover for the cinema as has his personality. It's off-putting at first to have a Partridge who's vaguely likeable.
Old favourites from the hit sitcom I'm Alan Partridge, security guard Michael (Simon Greenall) and PA Lynn (Felicity Montagu), are by the DJ's side but underused, though Lynn's hair and Michael's Tupperware box have their moment in the sun.
But this is all about Alan and unlike other films he's been asked to carry (Around The World In 80 Days, anyone?) Coogan is more plausible in the skin of his own creation. The cringeworthy, ego-inflating lines we're accustomed to are present and correct while there's some standout physical comedy – Alan caught with his trousers down and a bus toilet spring to mind. And you'll never hear Roachford's Cuddly Toy the same way again after the opening credits.
There may not be a Partridge greatest hit like the infamous "Dan, Dan, Dan ... DAN!" moment from I'm Alan Partridge, but there are guaranteed belly laughs throughout.
Eat his goal.