(Originally posted 12th July 2016)
To preface this, I should make it clear exactly where I stand: I'm not a huge fan of the show. It's something I binged through because I was trapped in a house full of Absolutely Fabulous DVDs during a spell of unemployment and not having the internet. It's very watchable but it's also very meandering and rarely steps past mediocrity.
The film suffers from various shortcomings that largely seem to stem from the decision to use a veteran director of the show rather than someone who makes, you know... films. It's tonally schizophrenic, with sections that are poorly conveyed and general issues with the pacing and translation of the show into the language of cinema.
The stakes also never quite feel as high as they should - which isn't helped by how sadly predictable every last plot-beat is from the moment the inciting incident takes place. As a result, the film never really feels like a film in the way that it ought to. It just feels, as Allen suggested in our podcast, like an extended episode of the series produced on a bigger budget.
However, judged on its own merits, it might be messy and lacking direction but it ultimately adds up to a good time at the cinema. For its many flaws, the film is essentially everything a movie based on a sitcom should be: a distillation of what worked best in and about the series boiled down and presented over 90 minutes whilst being given the freedom to go larger than the show ever could. I can think of many worse ways to spend an hour and a half and given that I'm fairly indifferent about the series at the best of times, that's pretty glowing praise.