MRR Review: "Alan Partrdige"

Photo Credit: Magnolia Pictures

Rating: R
Length: 90 minutes
Release Date: February 27, 2014
Directed by: Declan Lowney
Genre: Comedy

For fans of the wacky, narcissistic character from the comedy TV series "Knowing Me Knowing You With Alan Partridge," "I'm Alan Partridge" and others, the 2014 film "Alan Partridge" is a welcome addition to the character's franchise. When DJ Alan Partridge finds out that the radio station he works for is being bought out, a series of unlikely events leads to him landing the role of negotiator for the police in a dangerous siege. Featuring non-stop gags and hilarious characters, this new adventure will delight viewers who have never even heard of the legendary Alan Partridge.

In this uproarious comedy, Steve Coogan plays Alan Partridge, a DJ for the Norwich-based radio station North Norfolk Digital. When he and his co-worker find out that the station is being bought out by a multinational conglomerate, and that there are going to be redundancies, his fellow DJ Pat Farrell begins to panic. Pat asks Alan to talk to the new management and convince them to keep Pat as a DJ, but when Alan discovers that only one of them will keep his job, he double-crosses his co-worker and leaves a note telling the new owners to fire Pat.

Pat loses his job, and the new owners host a party at the station later that night while Alan talks with another co-worker outside. The fun does not last long as Pat crashes the party with a shotgun in hand and holds the radio station owners and staff hostage. Pat shoots at Alan when he attempts to enter the station, but Alan narrowly escapes and heads to the nearest police station. Upon learning about the siege, the police send Alan back to the station to speak with Pat and work as an intermediary for negotiations.

Pat, who wants nothing more than to have his beloved job back, begins broadcasting radio shows with Alan and the co-presenter Sidekick Simon. As the broadcasts continue, the siege becomes a national sensation. Alan begins to swell with pride due to his important role. However, when he accidentally locks himself out of the radio station, the police begin to question his competence. He must find his way back in if he wants to convince Pat to release the hostages and eventually save the day.

"Alan Partridge" is a fast-paced film that works hard to keep the laughs coming at every turn, and it largely succeeds. Alan Partridge features the same charm, antics and expressions that made him a beloved British TV icon for decades. Steve Coogan does a brilliant job as the title character, bringing Alan's narcissistic attitude, self-centered delusions and immature behaviors back to life in ways that are sure to entice both dedicated fans and newcomers. The subdued acting and unlikely situations, such as a radio show being broadcast at gunpoint and a Taser in a pizza box, are just what Partridge fans expect.

The film's humor is smart, low-key and seamlessly executed, a combination that has worked well for the Alan Partridge franchise in the past. Scenes that would otherwise come off as boring, such as the instance in the police station when Alan is asked to talk to Pat, keep viewers' sides aching from laughter despite the seriousness of the characters. This humor also creates an atmosphere that feels realistic to viewers, drawing them into every scene and helping them to feel more attached to the story and its characters. Steve Coogan is a master at this type of subdued humor, and fans will likely find themselves wishing the film featured more of its namesake character than it does.

The plot is not anything groundbreaking, but it does offer a few twists and turns, and it works as a great platform for Steve Coogan to put on an outlandish performance. The antagonist Pat Farrell, played by Colm Meaney, has a few memorable moments of his own. However, it is clear that most of the supporting cast is simply there to interact with Alan Partridge. Although this differs from the TV series, which brought to life a number of humorous characters, Alan Partridge fans will still enjoy this humorous tale.

Featuring great acting and endless jokes, "Alan Partridge" may just be the funniest film of 2014. Director Declan Lowney creates the perfect environment for the high-stakes adventure. Writers Peter Baynham, Steve Coogan and others ensure that the jokes and gags feel like the traditional Alan Partridge fare. The film has received widespread critical acclaim, and it makes an excellent addition to the collections of Alan Partridge fans everywhere.