Alan Partridge (2013)
October 17, 2015 9:17 PM - Subscribe

When famous DJ Alan Partridge's radio station is taken over by a new media conglomerate, it sets in motion a chain of events which see Alan having to work with the police to defuse a potentially violent siege.

A.O. Scott, New York Times:
"Can unpleasantness be its own kind of charm? The British comedian and actor Steve Coogan has built a career around the answer 'well yes, sort of.' American audiences that know him for his uncharacteristically sweet turn in 'Philomena' or his role as the miniature Roman soldier in 'Night at the Museum' movies may have a distorted view of his talents. As a character named 'Steve Coogan' (in 'The Trip' and elsewhere), he has satirized the fragile vanity of the semicelebrity class. But his greatest creation may be a broadcaster named Alan Partridge, a man whose Wikipedia entry helpfully describes him as 'an insecure, superficial and narcissistic "wally."

"Partridge, cooked up by Mr. Coogan and Armando Iannucci almost 20 years ago, began as a BBC sports announcer and failed upward, hosting a talk show called 'Knowing Me Knowing You' before ascending to 'I'm Alan Partridge,' a series similar to 'The Larry Sanders Show.' In it and in 'Alan Partridge,' the new feature film directed by Declan Lowney, he has been exiled to radio, hosting a stretch of daytime music and gabbing at a station in Norwich. That somewhat pathetic job is now threatened by new owners, who want to refresh the format to make it more youthful and digital-friendly."
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome (14 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I like the name Alpha Papa better, but I suppose it wouldn't explain exactly what the hell you're getting into if you're watching this in the States.

I can't stand most cringe comedy. Ricky Gervais just makes me want to punch something, and so much of British comedy has recently gone down that route, so there's very little actual comedy I watch. But, for some reason, there's just something so wonderfully ridiculous about Alan's fuckups that it doesn't feel like most cringe comedy.

It manages to be ludicrous, heartfelt, saddening, and tense all at once, and you're laughing, but you're also feeling for these characters.

It shows up on TV on occasion now, and I always end up watching a bit of it.
posted by Katemonkey at 4:29 AM on October 18, 2015 [2 favorites]

I love the show like Alan loves ABBA, but I did not know what to think about this movie. Coogan and Iannucci's universe has never been a sympathetic one, but it got so dark. I can actually imagine Alan saying into his tape recorder, "Idea for film: Colm Meaney is a DJ who goes bananas and takes a radio station hostage, and who's the negotiator who will stop him? Alan Partridge."
posted by thetortoise at 6:30 AM on October 18, 2015 [2 favorites]

I too, can't handle cringe comedy, mostly cause so much it depends on everyone being an asshole or dumb or being way too accommodating, but Alan Partridge is such a finely drawn character with so many weird but totally fitting traits and affections that I find his loathesomeness pathetic and very human as opposed to over the top and awful.
posted by The Whelk at 8:11 AM on October 18, 2015 [2 favorites]

I remember the point at which I decided I was on board for this movie: it was when Partridge feels guilty about throwing his coworker under the bus, and delegates dealing with the guilt to his assistant.
posted by jwgh at 6:54 PM on October 18, 2015 [1 favorite]

This is a perfect little film, a perfect encapsulation of a strange character. He may have started (on the Day Today!) as a satire of certain presenters, but he's his own thing now, and the fine line he walks between repulsion and attraction. He's a contemptible character, but often so pathetic that you find yourself sympathetic towards him.

On the subject of successful film conversions of British sitcoms, I rather enjoyed the League of Gentleman film, which sort of vanished into history after a short cinematic release.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 12:35 AM on October 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

On the subject of successful film conversions of British sitcoms, I rather enjoyed the League of Gentleman film, which sort of vanished into history after a short cinematic release.

Is this the League of Gentlemen's Apocalypse, or is there another one out there? Because, damn, I would be down for another League of Gentlemen film.
posted by thetortoise at 1:06 AM on October 19, 2015

Is this the League of Gentlemen's Apocalypse

That's the fellow, no new film sorry, we just have to be happy with inside number 9 now :)
posted by Cannon Fodder at 1:52 AM on October 19, 2015

Enjoyed the film, and the recent auto-biography 'I, Partridge', immensely. I'd be really interested in hearing reviews from those who did not know the character previously- seeing this cold. Do you have to know Alan's back-story for it to work? I ask because I know no-one who didn't enjoy the film, but all of those were Partridge fans for the past 20 years or so, and I'm wondering if keeping the old fans on board (as they have done very well with the latest installments) is at the cost of new people appreciating it.
posted by Gratishades at 6:31 AM on October 19, 2015

Knees and toes.
posted by maxsparber at 8:41 AM on October 19, 2015

Gratishades: "I'd be really interested in hearing reviews from those who did not know the character previously- seeing this cold."

I absolutely loved it, having watched it only on the basis of seeing Coogan in The Trip. I know there is a significant amount of existing Partridgiana, and I knew that going in to the movie, but to be honest, I'm still not entirely sure how much of his backstory is "real" (as in, depicted in radio/TV shows created by Iannucci and Coogan for the character) and how much is fictional. I think I like it that way.
posted by Rock Steady at 1:02 PM on October 19, 2015 [2 favorites]

I had a vague idea of who he was but never sat down and watched an Alan Partridge thing. Still loved it, and the idea of there being this huge history of him acting like that comes through.
posted by The Whelk at 3:40 PM on October 19, 2015 [2 favorites]

I felt like it didn't quite work for me: that it was strangely both over-the-top and spread too thin. Half an hour is a perfect length for Partridge; movie-length is too much.

He also seems oddly ageless in this. The I'm Alan Partridge series perfectly captured him in middle-age, all vain self-image struggling against repressed self-doubt. This is late-middle-age Partridge, sliding relentlessly towards the end of his career, and that should be the source of a great deal of Partridgey angst; but it all gets lost in the action, except for this exchange with Pat:
- Alan, did you ever imagine what life would be like in your 50s?
- I had hopes and dreams. I think we all did.
- Penny for them.
- Keep the penny, you've got a gun. But, yeah, I used to dream that one day I'd drive a brand-new Range Rover
towing a speed boat.
- I used to dream about growing old with someone I love.
- Hm. Both valid.
It seems to me that there's maybe one more great Alan Partridge plot remaining, which is A Partridge In Retirement; but Smashie & Nicey already completely covered that ground.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 6:38 PM on October 19, 2015 [2 favorites]

Also: the oops-there-go-his-pants slapstick bit really didn't fit the character at all. That, and the oh there's-a-paparazzi wha-whah gag that followed it, felt much too farce-y for Partridge; like they'd somehow snuck in from a Mr. Bean script.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 6:47 PM on October 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

I had a sort of vague idea of who Alan Partridge was, but hadn't seen the character previously. I really liked the movie; I thought it lost its way a bit in the last third, but I had developed enough good-will to the movie by that point that it didn't bother me too much.
posted by jwgh at 6:57 AM on October 20, 2015

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