Steve Coogan is fantastic, but I was only so-so on the story. Alan Partridge is based on a long-running British TV comedy that Coogan was famous for, but the movie has put his radio deejay character in a hostage negotiation scenario for the bulk of the comedy. Still, it’s a pleasure to see Coogan in full egomaniac mode. When his radio station is taken over by a new media conglomerate, Partridge’s colleague Pat Farrell (Colm Meaney) is sacked – it’s immediately funny when Partridge only half tries to save his friend’s job. Farrell is bonkers, though, bringing in a gun to shoot up the place and subsequently taking hostages. Partridge is brought in by the police to talk his friend down, but this being the me-me of Coogan comedy, the whole siege becomes about him.
Who else but Coogan would create a character whose goal is to elongate the siege process so he can become more famous by worldwide coverage while at gunpoint? Partridge’s goal is to be recognized by other media organizations so his contract can be bought out. One of the poor hostages in the meantime has duct tape strapping him uncomfortably and taping his mouth, and leave it to Partridge to try to adjust the duct tape and yet make it absolutely worse for him. Another time, the gun is laid down, leaving Partridge the chance to be the hero or at least run out to police with it. Partridge, ha ha, is the kind of guy though that wouldn’t risk falling down on his ass to save other lives.
There are plenty of good gags, yet that still doesn’t remove the hackneyed hostage scene formula completely. I should be more than tired with a movie that’s stuck in one lockdown location for the entire film (e.g. radio station). But Coogan keeps things lively, or at least finds ways to appall you. Coogan leaves no stone unturned, either, in the name of comedy he even loses his pants. It’s not the only time you will see him run for cover.
You faintly will remember other characters in the movie a week after you see it. They don’t really matter. In fact, even though its expected of this kind of comedy, the policemen are a little bit too stupid. What counts is that this is a comedy of Steve Coogan and his ego. If you’re a fan, that’s a good thing.
COMEDY / THINKING TEENS / LATE NIGHT CHUCKLES
Film Cousins: “Cadillac Man” (1990); “The Ref” (1994); “Airheads” (1994); “Private Parts” (1997).