ALAN PARTRIDGE: ALPHA PAPA (M)
Directed by Declan Lowney.
I've never been a huge Steve Coogan fan, The Trip excepted. Something about his brand of provincial English self-loathing maybe rings too familiar a chord with me.
So I walked into Alan Partridge:Alpha Papa with scant expectations, which is the exact right state to see a film in if one wants to be pleasantly surprised.
This is a truly funny film, one that has obviously spent years being drafted and redrafted, until every scene and line is as deft and as economical as it can possibly be.
With Armando Iannucci (The Thick of It,In the Loop) on co-writing duties, and Declan Lowney (Father Ted) in the director's chair, this simple yarn of one appallingly self-obsessed, neurotic, small-town radio DJ trying to negotiate the freedom of a building full of hostages, and advance his own career, takes on a nice momentum.
Coogan is fine, and more likeable than I remember, while Colm Meaney, as the hostage-taker, is superb.
And that old film-maker's game of 'quote a scene from Dog Day Afternoon' (seeInside Man and others) gets a run, so I left happy.
It's not up there with In the Loop, 4 Lions, or any of Edgar Wright's, but this is still a better British comedy than most we've seen in the last decade.
- The Dominion Post