Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie

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Absolutely Fabulous:
The Movie
Absolutely Fabulous The Movie.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMandie Fletcher
Produced by
Written byJennifer Saunders
Based onAbsolutely Fabulous
by Jennifer Saunders and Dawn French
Starring
Music byJake Monaco
CinematographyChris Goodger
Edited by
  • Anthony Boys
  • Gavin Buckley
Production
companies
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
‹See TfM›
  • 29 June 2016 (2016-06-29) (London)
  • 1 July 2016 (2016-07-01) (United Kingdom)
Running time
91 minutes[1]
CountryUnited Kingdom
LanguageEnglish
Box office$39.2 million[2]

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie is a 2016 British comedy film directed by Mandie Fletcher and written by Jennifer Saunders, based on the television series Absolutely Fabulous. It stars Saunders, Joanna Lumley, Julia Sawalha, June Whitfield (in her final film role) and Jane Horrocks, reprising their roles from the series. The film finds the drug-addicted, alcoholic PR agent Edina Monsoon and her best friend/codependent Patsy Stone on the run from the authorities after it is suspected they killed supermodel Kate Moss. The film serves as a de facto series finale for the show.

Principal photography began on 12 October 2015 in the South of France. The film premiered in London on 29 June 2016 and was released theatrically in the United Kingdom on 1 July 2016 by 20th Century Fox.

Plot[edit]

The ever-glamorous and self-indulgent Edina Monsoon and Patsy Stone are now in their 60s. Edina's PR company is in decline and her attempt to release an autobiography falls through when a publisher rejects the manuscript. While setting up designer Huki Muki's fashion event, Patsy learns that supermodel Kate Moss is looking for a new PR agent, and immediately calls Edina to inform her. Their phone call is overheard by Edina's PR rival Claudia Bing when Edina accidentally leaves her phone on speaker.

Edina and Patsy attend the fashion event with Edina's 13-year-old granddaughter Lola, while Saffron "Saffy" Monsoon, Edina's daughter and Lola's mother, goes out on a date with her new boyfriend Nick. Edina finds Kate Moss on a balcony overlooking the Thames. When both Edina and Claudia attempt to approach Kate, Edina accidentally topples Kate into the river. Among the witnesses is Lulu, one of Edina's remaining clients, who is at odds with Edina after being replaced as a performer at the event.

Hysteria pervades the event as Kate is presumed dead. The media immediately storm the scene to report her disappearance and assumed death. Edina and Patsy, along with Lola, are taken into police custody. Saffy arrives to see them with Nick, who is revealed to be a police detective.

After being released the following day, Edina becomes the target of hate mail and Internet trolls, while Patsy has been fired from her job because of her association with Edina. At night, the pair take a boat to the Thames to search for Kate's body, using Edina's personal assistant Bubble as a searching device, but she disappears into the water. They decide to flee the country before the media firestorm worsens, taking Lola and her credit card along. The three land in Cannes, while back in London, Saffy desperately searches for Lola, eventually discovering Edina's whereabouts through her stylist, Christopher.

In Cannes, Edina and Patsy try to come up with money-making schemes. After Patsy fails to convince a wealthy former lover to marry her, the two happen upon an elderly baroness who is the richest woman in the world. In order to gain access to her fortune, Patsy disguises herself as a man named Pat Stone and flirts with her. The following day, Patsy marries the baroness, granting Edina and Patsy the lavish lifestyle they had been pursuing, as they stay in a luxury hotel with Dame Joan Collins and Dame Edna Everage as fellow guests.

Meanwhile, Emma Bunton, who saw Edina and Patsy in public, tells Lulu about their whereabouts. Lulu flies out to Cannes and meets with Bubble, who is alive and has bought a massive Cannes pavilion after embezzling money from Edina's company for years. Saffy arrives in Cannes with Nick and immediately heads to the hotel to find Lola, who is with Emma.

A vengeful Lulu reports Edina and Patsy's whereabouts to the police. The police find Edina and Patsy and chase them through the town, the duo escaping in a hijacked three-wheeled delivery van. As they reach Bubble's pavilion, the van's brakes fail and they roll backwards and fall into an infinity pool attached to Bubble's house. Saffy arrives at the scene to find Edina and Patsy slowly sinking into the pool, still inside the van. Edina apologises to Saffy for being greedy, self-centred and a neglectful mother. In response, Saffy tells her that she loves her. When Bubble reveals that Kate Moss is alive, Edina immediately exits the van, realising she is innocent.

People all over the world celebrate the fact that Kate Moss is alive. As Kate's new PR, Edina revitalises her career and finally launches her autobiography, while Kate has been in even more demand since she was found. At Saffy's insistence, Patsy reluctantly reveals to the baroness that she is in fact a woman, not a man called "Pat". The baroness, in turn, reveals that she is actually a man.

Cast[edit]

Celebrity cameos[edit]

Multiple celebrity cameo appearances in the film were announced over the course of filming.[3][4][7][8][9][10][11] In April 2016, Fox and the BBC confirmed a list of 60 cameos, most of which had not yet been announced, that would be featured in the film.[12][13] They include:

Approximately 90 drag queens appeared in the film,[14] including Daniel Lismore, The Vivienne and Charlie Hides.

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

Saunders wrote and starred in Absolutely Fabulous, a British television sitcom for the BBC, which originally ran for three series from 1992 to 1995, with intermittent additional series and specials until 2012.[15][16] Absolutely Fabulous features the champagne-fueled duo of "international PR guru" Edina Monsoon (Saunders) and "sex-crazed magazine editor" Patsy Stone (Lumley).[15] Additional characters include Edina's overly serious daughter Saffron (Sawalha), her daffy mother (Whitfield) and her even daffier assistant Bubble (Horrocks).[17]

Writing[edit]

Saunders planned to begin writing a film version of the series in 2012 and confirmed that she had begun the writing process in 2014.

Deadline Hollywood broke the story in November 2011 that Saunders planned to begin writing a film version of the series in 2012.[15] The film would begin with Edina and Patsy waking up hungover after a party on an oligarch's yacht, with everyone else gone and the boat somewhere the middle of the ocean.[15][18] Saunders later said that she hoped to shoot the film on the French Riviera.[19] In March 2012, Saunders confirmed that she was working on the script.[20] She said of the plot:

Eddy and Patsy are looking for what they imagine glamorous life should be. They're constantly searching for that perfect place to sit or that perfect pair of sunglasses. It's Shangri-La and it just might be round the next corner. In the meantime, they decide to take Saffy's daughter off her—she calls her Jane, I call her Lola—but then they lose her.[20]

Calling herself the "worst procrastinator in the world",[21] Saunders said in January 2014:

Yes, well I have to do it now because I've threatened to a lot ... And then she [Lumley] kept announcing it and saying, "Yes, she's going to do it," and then Dawn French on our radio show at Christmas said, "I bet £100,000 that you don't write it," so now I have to write it, otherwise I have to pay her £100,000 ... Once you've had a bit of success, the last thing you want to do is go and make a flop. So the biggest fear in me is that it won't be good enough. I'm really nervous about it.[21]

In April 2014, Saunders again confirmed on BBC Breakfast that she was in the process of writing the film.[22] In April 2015, Saunders explained her delay with the script, saying, "I think that's why I didn't do it for a while ... I thought, 'Wouldn't it be awful if it was awful.'"[23] She then quipped, "but we're all so old, and Joanna [Lumley] said to me, 'Do it before we die!' We're all on the brink."[23] Saunders also noted, "[The film] involves all the main characters and virtually everyone that's ever been in the series—all those characters".[23] Lumley confirmed in July 2015 that the film's script was finished and that production would begin in October.[24] She said of the project, "We are all there, the same old gang ... It is going to be ravishingly funny! Very gorgeous ... and completely fabulous!"[24]

Production and filming[edit]

In August 2015, Deadline Hollywood reported that "all of the original main cast" were confirmed, with Fox Searchlight Pictures in negotiations to co-finance and co-produce the film with BBC Films, and to handle worldwide distribution.[25] It was also announced that Mandie Fletcher would direct, with Jon Plowman and Damian Jones as producers and Saunders, French and Maureen Vincent as executive producers.[25] Deadline Hollywood later reported that Christine Langan, Steve Milne, Christian Eisenbeiss and Nichola Martin were also executive producing, with DanTram Nguyen, Vice President of Production and Katie Goodson-Thomas, Director of Production overseeing the project for Fox Searchlight Pictures.[26]

Principal photography began on 12 October 2015 in South of France.[25][27] The BBC and Fox Searchlight subsequently released a promotional image of Saunders and Lumley in character on a yacht.[26] Along with Sawalha, Whitfield and Horrocks,[3] Kathy Burke was confirmed to be reprising her role as Magda,[5] and Kate Moss, Emma Bunton and Lulu would appear in guest roles as themselves, as they had in the TV series.[3] The cameo appearances of Harry Styles, Kelly Hoppen and Kim Kardashian were also announced as filming began.[3] Multiple other celebrity cameos were announced during production,[3][4][7][8][9][10][11] culminating with a 60-name list released in April 2016.[12][13]

Deadline Hollywood's Ali Jaafar wrote of the film's plot in October 2015:

Edina and Patsy are still oozing glitz and glamour, living the high life they are accustomed to; shopping, drinking and clubbing their way around London’s trendiest hotspots. Blamed for a major incident at an uber fashionable launch party, they become entangled in a media storm and are relentlessly pursued by the paparazzi. Fleeing penniless to the glamorous playground of the super-rich, the French Riviera, they hatch a plan to make their escape permanent and live the high life forevermore![26]

Controversy[edit]

In December 2015, the film sparked controversy and accusations of racism when it was announced that Caucasian comedienne Janette Tough would be playing a Japanese character named Huki Muki.[28][29] Korean-American comedian Margaret Cho accused the film of "yellowface", which she described as "when white people portray Asian people. And unfortunately it's happening in this film."[28] Upon release of the film it became apparent that the character was not, in fact, Japanese but Scottish. When asked about the controversy, Saunders replied that "the whole film is about people being what they're not, Huki Muki is a brand, she is the designer and she looks a bit Japanese, but the moment she opens her mouth she's from Glasgow. There's no yellow makeup..."[30]

Music[edit]

On 10 June 2016, Australian singer Kylie Minogue released a cover version of the series' theme song "This Wheel's on Fire" as the official theme for the film.[31] The soundtrack, which also includes songs from Paloma Faith (whose "Ready for the Good Life" appears in the film's trailer), La Roux, Jason Derulo, Eartha Kitt, Nancy Sinatra, Santigold and others, was released on 1 July 2016 via Rhino Records.[32][33] It debuted at number 38 on the ARIA Albums Chart in Australia on 6 August.[34]

Release[edit]

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie had its world premiere at the Odeon Leicester Square in London on 29 June 2016.[35][36] The film was released theatrically in the United Kingdom on 1 July 2016 by 20th Century Fox,[37][38] and was subsequently released in the UK on DVD and Blu-ray on 5 December 2016.[39] In the United States, it was released in select theaters on 22 July 2016 by Fox Searchlight Pictures.[40]

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie has grossed $39.2 million worldwide, including $19.5 million in the United Kingdom, $4.7 million in the United States and $6.2 million in Australia.[2]

Critical response[edit]

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 58% based on 149 reviews; the average rating is 5.52/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie picks up pretty much where its source material left off, delivering an adaptation that, as fans of this British export might say, does what it says on the tin."[41] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 59 out of 100 based on 35 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[42]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Association Category Nominee(s) Result
2017 Diversity in Media Awards Movie of the Year Nominated

Cancelled sequel[edit]

Saunders has hinted that a sequel had been considered if the film performs well at the box office.[43] However, on 29 November 2016, Saunders confirmed that she is "not doing anything more with Ab Fab", as she wanted to focus on new projects and spend more time with her family.[44]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie (15)". British Board of Film Classification. 23 June 2016. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  2. ^ a b "Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie (2016)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 29 July 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Percival, Ashley (19 October 2015). "Absolutely Fabulous: Jennifer Saunders And Joanna Lumley Begin Shooting For New Film As Eddie Monsoon And Patsy Stone". HuffPost UK. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d Wong, Curtis M. (23 November 2015). "Chris Colfer Lands A Role in Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 23 November 2015.
  5. ^ a b Warner, Sam (12 October 2015). "Kathy Burke is back as Magda in the Absolutely Fabulous movie". Digital Spy. Retrieved 1 October 2020.
  6. ^ a b c "Jimmy Krankie to star with Jerry Hall and Lily Cole in new Absolutely Fabulous movie". Daily Mirror. 14 November 2015. Retrieved 23 November 2015.
  7. ^ a b c "Joan Collins's diary: 'I'm in deep shock at Jackie's death, but life goes on'". The Spectator. 7 November 2015. Archived from the original on 27 November 2015. Retrieved 23 November 2015.
  8. ^ a b c Percival, Ashley (2 December 2015). "'Absolutely Fabulous' Movie Adds Rylan Clark To Cast, As 'Big Brother' Host Lands Guest Role". HuffPost UK. Retrieved 1 October 2020.
  9. ^ a b Miller, Michael (2 December 2015). "Rebel Wilson Shares Pics of Her Absolutely Fabulous Time on the Set of Upcoming Movie". People. Retrieved 1 October 2020.
  10. ^ a b c Sowray, Bibby (6 November 2015). "Kate Moss meets a watery end in Ab Fab: The Movie". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 8 November 2015. Retrieved 3 December 2015.
  11. ^ a b c Sowray, Bibby (1 December 2015). "Cara Delevingne joins Kate Moss and Stella McCartney in Ab Fab: The Movie". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 1 December 2015. Retrieved 3 December 2015.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay Stolworthy, Jacob (25 April 2016). "Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie will have a ridiculous number of cameos". The Independent. Retrieved 25 April 2016.
  13. ^ a b c d e f Stolworthy, Jacob (27 April 2016). "Absolutely Fabulous film trailer shows off its many cameos, from Kate Moss to Jon Hamm". The Independent. Retrieved 27 April 2016.
  14. ^ "Ab Fab Movie Shoots Scenes at Royal Vauxhall Tavern with Over 90 Drag Queens". Attitude. 16 November 2015. Retrieved 2 October 2020.
  15. ^ a b c d Adler, Tim (8 November 2011). "Jennifer Saunders To Pen Absolutely Fabulous Movie". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  16. ^ Sperling, Daniel; Mansell, Tom (15 May 2012). "Absolutely Fabulous Joanna Lumley teases Olympic special". Digital Spy. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  17. ^ Emery, Debbie (29 April 2015). "Absolutely Fabulous Officially Heading to the Big Screen". TheWrap. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  18. ^ Child, Ben (9 November 2011). "Jennifer Saunders to write Absolutely Fabulous movie". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 5 February 2015. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  19. ^ Bolonik, Kera (29 December 2011). "Still Ab Fab: Jennifer Saunders". New York. Archived from the original on 30 December 2011. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  20. ^ a b "Saunders excited about Ab Fab film". Irish Independent. 26 March 2012. Retrieved 1 October 2020.
  21. ^ a b Martin, Liam (4 January 2014). "Jennifer Saunders will write Absolutely Fabulous movie". Digital Spy. Retrieved 1 October 2020.
  22. ^ "Get your Lacroix and beehives at the ready... Jennifer Saunders confirms she's writing an Ab Fab film!". BBC Breakfast. 11 April 2014. Retrieved 19 October 2015 – via Facebook.
  23. ^ a b c Lee, Ben (29 April 2015). "Jennifer Saunders on Absolutely Fabulous movie: 'We might shoot in the autumn'". Digital Spy. Retrieved 1 October 2020.
  24. ^ a b Reynolds, Simon (29 July 2015). "Sweetie darling, we're going to the movies! Joanna Lumley confirms Absolutely Fabulous film". Digital Spy. Retrieved 1 October 2020.
  25. ^ a b c Jaafar, Ali (11 August 2015). "Fox Searchlight In Discussions For Absolutely Fabulous Feature Film With Original Cast". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  26. ^ a b c Jaafar, Ali (19 October 2015). "First Look: Absolutely Fabulous Feature Film Starts Shooting". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  27. ^ "On the Set for 10/16/15: Ab Fab: The Movie & Planet of the Apes Sequel Start Shooting While Star Trek Beyond Wraps". SSN Insider. 16 October 2015. Archived from the original on 13 June 2017. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  28. ^ a b Blumsom, Amy (16 December 2015). "Ab Fab movie accused of racism". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 16 December 2015. Retrieved 24 December 2015.
  29. ^ Lydia Smith (16 December 2015). "Absolutely Fabulous movie and yellowface: Why offensive racial stereotyping still blights Hollywood". International Business Times UK. Retrieved 24 December 2015.
  30. ^ Denham, Jess (30 June 2016). "Absolutely Fabulous: Jennifer Saunders dismisses yellowface accusations as 'ridiculous nonsense'". The Independent. Archived from the original on 30 June 2016. Retrieved 5 August 2016.
  31. ^ Romano, Nick (10 June 2016). "Absolutely Fabulous movie soundtrack features Kylie Minogue theme song cover". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 27 July 2020.
  32. ^ Phelan, Zehra (10 June 2016). "Jason Derulo, Kylie and Paloma Faith Head up The Absolutely Fabulous Movie Soundtrack". Flavourmag. Retrieved 1 October 2020.
  33. ^ Palmer, Jason (10 June 2016). "Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Featurette & Kylie Theme Song Released". Entertainment Focus. Retrieved 1 October 2020.
  34. ^ "Soundtrack – Absolutely Fabulous". australian-charts.com. Retrieved 1 October 2020.
  35. ^ Cope, Rebecca (29 June 2016). "Watch the 'Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie' premiere live here". Harper's Bazaar. United Kingdom. Retrieved 1 October 2020.
  36. ^ "Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie red carpet premiere: Watch live from London's Leicester Square". Evening Standard. 29 June 2016. Retrieved 1 October 2020.
  37. ^ Panisch, Alex (10 December 2015). "Jennifer Saunders Confirms Ab Fab Movie Release Date, Plot Details". Out. Retrieved 13 December 2015.
  38. ^ "WIN: Absolutely Fabulous The Movie poster signed by Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley". The Yorkshire Post. 30 June 2016. Retrieved 1 October 2020.
  39. ^ "Absolutely Fabulous The Movie [DVD]". Amazon. United Kingdom. Retrieved 8 November 2016.
  40. ^ Coggan, Devan (23 February 2016). "Absolutely Fabulous movie gets July release date". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 1 October 2020.
  41. ^ "Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie (2016)". Rotten Tomatoes.
  42. ^ "Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  43. ^ Percival, Ash (30 June 2016). "Absolutely Fabulous: The Sequel". HuffPost UK. Retrieved 1 October 2020.
  44. ^ Fullerton, Huw (29 November 2016). "Jennifer Saunders says there'll be no more Absolutely Fabulous: "That. Is. It."". Radio Times. Retrieved 1 October 2020.

External links[edit]