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Movie Review: Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa

By Edited Dec 28, 2014 3 4

Certificate 15, 90 minutes

Director: Declan Lowney

Stars: Steve Coogan, Colm Meaney, Sean Pertwee

Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa sees the return of Steve Coogan's (Despicable Me 2, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb) long running - over 20 years, he first appeared in 1991 - character Alan Partridge in his first big screen role in an action comedy. Previously, the character had originated on the radio and appeared in a number of television shows. He is an insecure, shallow, narcissist who has difficulty relating to other people and often humiliate them. Over the years, his character and backstory have become very detailed. How detailed? Well, Alan has his own autobiography out.

The Story So Far

I, Partridge: We Need to Talk about Alan. Alan Partridge with Rob Gibbons ... [Et Al.]
Amazon Price: $17.75 $6.97 Buy Now
(price as of Dec 28, 2014)
For those unfamiliar with Alan Partridge, here is a brief update of some of the highpoints, and low points, of Alan's career. He first started off on the radio, eventually getting a chat show called Knowing Me, Knowing You... with Alan Partridge, in which he often ridiculed and insulted his quests. The show was then turned into a television chat show of the same name. This show was Alan's big break, but suffered from - fictional - poor ratings (it was actually a success) which resulted in his television career stalling and the show being cancelled.

Alan then ended up working as a DJ on the - fictional - radio station, Radio Norwich. He also was living in a caravan and divorced. This point of his life was shown in the show I'm Alan Partridge. By the time of the film, Alan is presenting the radio show Mid Morning Matters on North Norfolk Digital. He has no real friends other than his long-suffering and oft-insulted personal assistant Lynn (Felicity Montagu).

The Present

North Norfolk Digital has just been taken over by a media conglomerate and renamed. Alan's DJ colleague Pat Farrell (Colm Meaney) has heard rumours that some of the staff may be sacked. Alan goes to the new management and, desperate to save himself, suggest that they Just Sack Pat. Pat is duly sacked and at that point gets more than a little upset and, on launch night, marches into the station with a shotgun and takes much of the staff and management hostage. Pat is only willing to negotiate through Alan. Not knowing how willing Alan was to sacrifice Pat to save his own skin, Pat believes that Alan is still his friend. Alan goes into the station and becomes a personality again. With an armed siege, he is getting television time again and sees this as a chance to boost his career with his narcissistic side taking over. As well as the television coverage, Pat is also broadcasting a radio show at the same time - with listener phone ins.

Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa

If you are not familiar with Alan Partridge from any of his previous shows, this film may be a bit harder to grasp as knowledge of the background of him and other characters will be missing. However, even with fairly minimal knowledge of the characters and the shows, it is still possible to enjoy the film.

Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa successfully transports Alan Partridge from the small screen to the big screen. Along the way Alan has to wrestle with some moral issues: Should he try to do what's best for Pat and the hostages, or should he just try and resurrect his career? Not a decision you really want to be made by a narcissist. Keep a close eye on the film as it is possible to miss some of the more subtle bits. For example, make sure you check the reflection in Alan's glasses when he's on the laptop in  his "business centre." The reflection doesn't match up with what he says he's looking at. This is a very funny film; Coogan is great as Partridge, even if you sometimes want to hit him. The 15 certificate is quite a high rating for the film, as there is very little actual violence, but some implied, although there is a fair amount of bad language. Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa is a great return for a beloved, if irritating, character.

Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa egdcltd 2013-08-08 4.0 0 5
Knowing Me, Knowing You with Alan Partridge - The Complete Series
Amazon Price: $29.98 $20.48 Buy Now
(price as of Dec 28, 2014)


Mar 4, 2014 12:20pm
I'll have to check it out!
Mar 5, 2014 3:22am
If you aren't at least somewhat familiar with Alan Partridge, it might not make a lot of sense. You don't need much familiarity though; I managed simply by having seen bits of a number of episodes.
Mar 4, 2014 1:54pm
Steve Coogan is a very funny guy, but he showed surprising range opposite Judi Dench in "Philomena."
Mar 5, 2014 3:23am
I haven't actually seen Philomena. Is it any good?
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