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Customer Review

27 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I didn't stop laughing for 90 minutes, 17 Aug. 2013
This review is from: Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Comedy is a genre best suited to the small screen. Keeping the laughs ticking over during a 30 minute sitcom is far easier than creating an out-and-out comedy film that is consistently funny. With a series length to establish character and familiarity, the humour can be more organic and ultimately rewarding. Striking the balance between character and gags is where so many comedy movies fall flat, failing on one count, or frequently both. But with `Alpha Papa', the publicity-hungry Norwich DJ's first feature film, we are taking a journey with a well established character, allowing it to cut through clunky development and exposition and get to the good stuff - basically, Alan (Steve Coogan).

As Alan's radio station, North Norfolk Digital, is taken over by a multinational conglomerate, the older DJs face the axe in favour of youth. Fearing for his own job he surreptitiously persuades the board to get rid of fellow presenter and old pal Pat Farrell (Colm Meaney). Furious at the news Pat returns to the station during its relaunch party and holds all the staff hostage at gunpoint. Refusing to talk to police, he will only communicate to the outside world through Alan, who after initial apprehension sees the opportunity offered by the media circus surrounding Norwich and revels in a return to the limelight. But in his desire for fame he threatens to endanger the lives of the hostages, and lose touch with the friendly jocular broadcasting he cherishes.

A regional and quintessentially British affair, this nevertheless has the potential to travel and win over new audiences thanks to the always entertaining prospect of a deluded protagonist with illusions of grandeur. Steve Coogan (and Armando Iannucci) have created such a remarkable character in Partridge that to all intents and purposes he genuinely exists, and is probably broadcasting from East Anglia right now. `Alpha Papa' is full of big gags and prat falls but the funniest moments stem from Alan just being Alan - he is such a joy to behold that simply listening to him ramble or become flustered is pure entertainment in itself.

The generic thriller setting is pitched just right, remaining rural and dowdy enough to feel like a feature length episode, as opposed to a movie with the character in it. As fans would expect, the script is glorious and contains a natural laugh in almost every exchange, without ever becoming forced. It zips along with none of the boredom you may fear from a TV adaption. The melancholy associated with the series is also present and at times verges on the heart-wrenching, with Alan's derision of his long-suffering assistant Lynn (Felicity Montagu) providing the emotional weight.

Made with affection and respect for the character `Alpha Papa' is the film it needed to be, a riotously funny small-scale jaunt with Alan, building on his ever-evolving story but not cheapening his legacy. It also asks the hard-hitting questions that matter to all of us, "Which is the worst monger...iron, fish, rumour or war?"
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