Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Steve Coogan, Colm Meaney, Felicity Montagu, Monica Dolan, Tim Key, Simon Greenall, Karl Theobald, Nigel Lindsay, Phil Cornwell, Dustin Demri-Burns, Anna Maxwell Martin, Darren Boyd, Sean Pertwee
Written by: Peter Baynham, Steve Coogan, Neil Gibbons, Rob Gibbons, Armando Iannucci
Directed by: Declan Lowney
MPAA Rating: R for language, brief violence and nudity
Running Time: 90
Date: 04/04/2014
IMDB

Alan Partridge (2014)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Radio Graves

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Steve Coogan's Alan Partridge character first appeared on television twenty years ago, and now makes his big screen debut in Alan Partridge. Even if you don't know the character, but are familiar with Coogan, you should enjoy this slyly witty movie; its humor is not dissimilar to the UK version of "The Office."

Partridge (Coogan) is a smarmy, annoying, self-absorbed, half-witted radio personality. His station has been bought out by a huge corporation, which intends to bring down soulless changes to format, and potentially fire some long-time employees. When Alan learns that his name is on the list, he urges them to fire his longtime colleague Pat Farrell (Colm Meaney) instead.

It's bad enough that Pat considers Alan a friend and tries to get his sympathy, but later Pat snaps and takes the station hostage, with Alan becoming the only link between Pat and the authorities. During the siege, Alan makes some romantic moves on a colleague, the broadcast continues, and there are many opportunities for funny one-liners, exchanges, or observances.

It's not brilliant, but neither does it devolve into brain-dead slapstick or toilet humor. It remains on its feet, trying to create jokes out of a human situation and human frustrations. Around the same time, Coogan earned his first Oscar nomination as a writer, for Philomena. Perhaps these two films suggest a good direction for Coogan's career.

Magnolia's DVD release comes with a few short, behind-the-scenes featurettes.

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