Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa

I’m not sure that I needed to see Alan Partridge’s bottom. In fact, I’m absolutely sure I didn’t need to. But when I did see it, I laughed like a drain. I laughed until the tears ran down my face and my eyeliner puddled on my cheeks.

Alpha Papa is funny, there’s no way around it. I guffawed all the way through, and that’s as much as you can ask of an Alan Partridge film I think – in fact, that’s all you can ask of any comedy. One of my all-time favourite things to turn to if I’m in need of a giggle is still Dumb and Dumber. And I like to think of myself as an intellectual. But sometimes, if you can laugh for a couple of hours, or in this case, for an hour and a half, in a darkened room with a lot of other people all laughing as much as you, then that will make even the worst of days seem ok.

A lot of us have grown up with Alan – he used to seem like a middle-aged man, now he just looks like someone I might have gone to school with. Partly this is because they’ve stopped covering him in that hideous flaky makeup, but also because Steve Coogan has almost caught up with Alan in the same way that we all have. Alan, of course, has never grown up. And this is his triumph – he’s still at that emotional stage of needing to be liked, wanting to be one of the cool boys and desperate to be a success so that the cool boys (and girls) will like him. And so that he can have a boat fastened to his car.

Even now, as he quips his way through a small mid-morning radio show on a small local digital channel, he can’t quite let the dream go of the days when he was almost but not quite Terry Wogan. But because he’s Alan, that level of fame is always going to be just out of reach. And when the opportunity suddenly lands in his lap – well, it would be rude not to grab it with both hands. So here he is, becoming an accidental hostage negotiator and potential national hero when a disgruntled DJ (Colm Meaney is great) holds the employees of North Norfolk Digital at gunpoint. I think we all know how well this is likely to turn out.

In my heart of hearts I have to admit this isn’t as perfect as it might have been. But it would be churlish to pick fault really. So my advice is – for 90 minutes of LOLs (or whatever the youngsters call them these days), go see Alan. Though it’s fair to warn you, I can still see his front bottom now in my mind’s eye. I think it will always be there.

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