Alan Partridge (2014)
Directed by Declan Lowney.
Cast: Steve Coogan, Colm Meaney, Tim Key, Felicity Montagu, Monica Dolan, Anna Maxwell Martin, Darren Boyd, Karl Theobald, Nigel Lindsay, Dustin Demri-Burns, Phil Cornwell, Sean Pertwee.
2014 90 minutes
Rated: (for language, brief violence and nudity).
Reviewed by Dustin Putman, June 9, 2014.
A character whom Steve Coogan (2012's "Ruby Sparks
") originated in 1991 on BBC radio program "On the Hour" gets his own self-titled film in the likably goofball "Alan Partridge." The film, directed by Declan Lowney, doesn't hit every target or land every joke, but Coogan's enthusiasm for the roleand the project as a wholeproves infectious. For the uninitiated, Alan Partridge is an egocentric disc jockey/talk show host who makes up for his rampant scatterbrained impulsivity with a whole lot of spunk and good luck. When radio station North Norfolk Digital is taken over by new management and rebranded as Shape, Alan finds his job suddenly threatened. In a desperate attempt to save his own butt, he throws his friend and colleague, late-night radio host Pat Farrell (Colm Meaney), under the bus. Pat does not take getting laid off easily, however, showing up with a gun during the company party and taking a handful of hostages. Alan narrowly gets away, but agrees to reenter the fray as a negotiator when Scotland Yard commander Janet Whitehead (Anna Maxwell Martin) seeks his help.
"Alan Partridge" doesn't necessarily add up to much in the final stretch, but the film's breezy tone and pertly acerbic humor keep things moving at an energetic pace. Steve Coogan is a delight as the big-headed, frequently clueless Alan, whose daydreams and impromptu naps keep hindering his ability to save the day. He is supported by a number of game supporting turns from Colm Meaney (2011's "The Conspirator
") as the good-natured, fed-up Pat Farrell; Felicity Montagu (2008's "How to Lose Friends & Alienate People
") as Alan's long-suffering, makeover-ready personal assistant Lynn Benfield, and Monica Dolan (2013's "Kick-Ass 2
") as Alan's flirtatious co-worker Angela Ashbourne. One has to wonder why there had to be five screenwriters (Rob Gibbons & Neil Gibbons, Peter Baynham, Armando Iannucci and Steve Coogan), but what they have come up with is fast and sometimes pleasingly sneaky, a 90-minute mix of the low-brow and satirical. An attempt to explore Alan Partridge on a deeper level is pushed aside for a series of comic set-ups and payoffs, the jokes coming quickly enough for it to not make much difference that only some of them achieve the desired titter.