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Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa - Review

Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 3.5 out of 5

STEVE Coogan may have taken his time bringing Alan Partridge to the big screen but the wait was worth it. Alpha Papa is a lively adventure that’s as smart as it is stupid. It also plays well to newcomers, of whom I am one.

Directed by Declan Lowney from a script co-written by Coogan and Armando Iannucci (among others), the film finds egotistical Norwich-based DJ Partridge faced with seeing his radio station being taken over by corporate big-wigs intent on ringing the changes.

Matters get worse when one of his colleagues, Pat Farrell, (Colm Meaney) is laid off and decides to take matters into his own hands by taking everyone at the radio station hostage.

Requesting Alan as a go-between himself and the police, the stage is then set for the most inept and self-serving hostage negotiation the UK has ever seen.

Much of the delight in watching Alpha Papa unfold lies in the script, which is loaded with deadpan gems and awkward situational comedy. Some of the funniest moments come from quick-witted exchanges or watching how Alan continually gets himself into uncomfortable spots.

There are some big set piece moments too – the most notable of which finds Alan losing his trousers – but while funny, they lack sophistication and are slightly more obvious.

But it’s a measure of Coogan’s command of his character and his audience that he can deliver both kinds of comedy and maintain a satisfying balance between the two.

He also draws on solid support from the likes of Meaney, Felicity Montagu as his long-suffering assistant, and Nigel Lindsay as his arrogant new boss.

That said, this remains the Alan Partridge show and the majority of the best moments are reserved for the leading man. Yet Coogan has more than enough smarts and range to pull it off, making the film one of the best small screen to big screen transitions of its kind.

Certificate: 15
Running time: 90mins
UK DVD & Blu-ray Release: December 2, 2013