Guest review by Chook.
8 / 10
Recently, with slack-jawed incredulity, I learned that, according to Courtney Love “her tryst with Coogan put her off cocaine”. To out-cocaine and presumably out-asshole Love, Steve Coogan is either a rhinoceros, or sewerage.
I’ve gotten ahead of myself. This is a review of English comedian Steve Coogan’s 2013 comedy Alpha Papa. The film is the feature-length debut for Alan Partridge, the small town radio deejay character that made Coogan famous in the late 1990s.
But holy **** you guys, Steve Coogan out-cocained Courtney Love.
Anyway, Alan Partridge was a brilliant TV series, largely due to the character himself and his narcissistic, petty belittling of all within his orbit. Coogan has always said Partridge is essentially our unchecked selves; that he expresses what we’d all say if we didn’t self-edit. Apparently we’re all stopping ourselves from being hilarious.
To get a flavour of the brand of comedy, Armando Iannuci of ‘Veep’, ‘In The Loop’, and ‘The Thick of It’ fame, also helped create Alan Partridge. While no character in Partridge rises to the sweary genius of Malcom ‘Fucking’ Tucker, it still mixes crass with clever excellently.
That said, I’ve always found that the problem with moving TV series to film is the need for a broad narrative arc – Homer can’t lose his driver’s license and that be it, in the movie he would have to lose his driver’s license in the battle between good and evil. For some reason, it seems harder to make a long, linear story quite as funny.
So the biggest challenge Alpha Papa was likely to face was blending the brilliant jokes of the TV series into a broad and coherent ninety something minute story, preferably a redemptive one that turns Alan Partridge into a plausible hero. I was sceptical, but you should not be.
Alpha Papa is a great success. An evil media conglomerate, an incompetent siege led by an Irishman and a radio microphone provide more than enough ingredients for Partridge to let loose, at one point agreeing with a talkback caller that he was “Absolutely correct. Cows do not have hymens, just a partially open cervix. The time is 10:22.”
I mean goddam it. This guy…
made whatever this is…
Go see his film; he’s earned your tenner.