30th Nov2013

‘Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa’ Review

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Steve Coogan, Colm Meaney, Anna Maxwell Martin, Sean Pertwee, Jessica Knappett, Darren Boyd, Monica Dolan, Nigel Lindsay | Written by Neil Gibbons, Rob Gibbons, Peter Baynham, Steve Coogan, Armando Iannucci | Directed by Declan Lowney


When it comes to British television if you were to mention Steve Coogan even the most cynical of fan would smile, he is just that type of man.  He is a man who will give his all for comedy, and maybe even take a moment to be dramatic if the moment calls for it (think Philomena).  The fact is though there will always be a few characters that we will all remember, and no this time it’s not Paul Calf it is in fact Alan Partridge who has his moment to shine in Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa.

The safest story for Alan to make a return would probably be him trying to get back onto the BBC yet again, but the movie focuses on his radio career, even if it is slowly dying a death.  When a new media conglomerate take over the radio station he works for Alan fights to save his career, which leads to a violent siege where only the Partridge skill of negotiation can save the day.

As fans of Alan Partridge we all know what an idiot the man is and what scenario he will find himself in, and as expected this is where he finds himself.  The fact though is we know Partridge is an archaic character that lives in the past, and not to be too harsh but radio is the past, and this is where he belongs.  In a BBC radio style parody though Partridge and his friend Pat Farrell (Colm Meaney) are being replaced, and while Partridge will sacrifice all his friends to save his job, Farrell gets pushed to the edge which leads to the siege.  The fact that all of this is Partridge’s fault in ways comes to no surprise.

If anything though Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa is the journey of the Partridge character to becoming that better person who realises what he did wrong.  He’s an idiot but you can’t help but like him because in the end he does do the right thing.  Partridge is just a failure in life but in his failures he manages to fight his way through becoming the better person, even if he probably hates himself for having to do it.

It is also important to note that with Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa the writing is skillful enough to remember the characters of the past.  We have the downtrodden Lynn (Felicity Montagu) who is there in her ever dependent style, but does get her chance to shine.  Alan wouldn’t be complete of course with Michael (Simon Greenall) showing up too as the radio station security guard.

The fact is though Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa works because the people who understand the character and writers who respect him want to put him into a situation that he can thrive in.  The Alan Partridge character is an idiot, we all know this and we all expect this from him.  To try and change a winning formula would not work and it’s refreshing that the writing understands that.  Why break what works?

Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa is a movie that brings back a character that people love for all his frailties, we know he is an idiot and we expect him to just be that.  In Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa Steve Coogan fully lives the idiot and gives the fans what they want, we may not like what Alan does but we know that in the end he’ll do the right thing, even if he’s forced or idiotically falls into it, that is the predictive nature of the enigmatic fool.

Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa is released on DVD and Blu-ray on December 2nd.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek.com

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