Film review: Alan Partridge Alpha Papa

Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa. Pictured: STEVE COOGAN as Alan Partridge
Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa. Pictured: STEVE COOGAN as Alan Partridge

Aha! The long-awaited Alan Partridge movie is finally here. And it’s textbook Partridge.

Alan’s radio station, North Norfolk Digital, has been taken over by a big media company and renamed Shape.

Part of their business plan for re-shaping their image involves sacking one of the older DJs. Alan manages to save his job, but when late-night DJ Pat Farrell is laid-off instead he takes the news badly; then takes the station hostage at gunpoint.

With Pat refusing to talk to anyone but Alan, Norwich’s most famous TV and radio presenter is called in by police to act as a negotiator, and the safety of everyone is in his hands.

Fans will be pleased to know that much-loved characters from the hit sitcom I’m Alan Partridge, including security guard Michael (Simon Greenall) and PA Lynn (Felicity Montagu), are by the DJ’s side to help him through the chaos. Lynn really finds her own opportunity to shine as the siege unfolds.

Written by Coogan, Armando Ianucci, and brothers Neil and Rob Gibbons, the team behind Partridge TV series Mid Morning Matters, all the classic gags are there, set amongst a subtle satire of the action heist genre.

Being on the big screen hasn’t changed Alan, he’s as embarrassing and hilarious as ever as he tries to manipulate the situation to boost his career and seize his chance to return to the spotlight.

Naturally the egotistical presenter can’t help being distracted from trying to talk Pat round, joining him in broadcasting live from the siege. Why negotiate freeing some women when you can play some Neil Diamond, have a phone-in about bus drivers, or just watch funny videos on YouTube?

When Coogan isn’t delivering punch lines, there’s plenty of slapstick humour to tickle audiences - watch out for an unlikely use of a portable loo and Partridge getting caught with his trousers down.

Alpha Papa is so packed with surprises for the discerning Partridge fan, to include spoilers would just seem churlish.

The world premiere was held last month in Norwich, after fans signed an online petition supporting the campaign ‘Anglia Square, not Leicester Square’. The decision to oblige says it all; this film is for the fans. While there is action, drama and even romance, Alpha Papa hasn’t put style over substance, or fallen into the trap of using massive special effects and stunts that get in the way of what is pure comedy gold.

This film is “Back of the net!”

Alan partridge: Alpha Papa

(15, 90 mins)