I’ve come across Alan Partridge here and there. It’s fairly hard not to hear the name at least once, somewhere in passing or channel surfing. If you haven’t heard of him, there’s a pretty extensive Wikipedia page to get you started.
Introduced in 1991, the fictional radio personality played by English comedian Steve Coogan has been around for 23 years, making his way across television and radio with appearances and a whole series devoted to him. Of course, it only seems natural that he should have a feature-length film.
When it comes down to it, Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa is standard Alan Partridge fare. The film places the quick-witted, quirky and rather self-focused radio personality in his natural habitat—a radio station. (It’s a no-brainer, of course.) However, when the station is taken over by a new director and starts making moves to become part of the hip crowd, Alan seems to think he’s safe and nothing is going to happen to any of the old personalities. That is, until he stumbles into a meeting of the directors with the sole purpose of defending his co-worker’s show—and finds out his head could be on the chopping block. Instantly, Alan switches to survival mode and the rest of the film follows his rise and fall as the focus of national attention. First, it’s rather unwanted but eventually he settles in and finds an odd comfort in a stressful, life-threatening situation.
As I said, the movie is standard fare. If you’re a fan of his character, a full-length film all about him is great. If you’re not a fan, this film won’t change your opinion. And if you’re sitting on the fence, meh—give it a try. I found my mind wandering at times, but when I was actually just watching the film (not wandering off to find some munchies or scanning through distractions on my phone), I didn’t fall asleep. So that’s something. And there were times when I was amused almost to the point of laughter, which is saying something because I rarely audibly laugh when watching movies or TV. I’d probably watch this one again; maybe I’d appreciate it more a second time around.
Overall, this is a hard one to rate because I honestly am rather indifferent. It’s rare that I come across a film that I don’t have one main point that pushes me either for or against a film, but this seems to be one of them. And I’m not going to try to scrape something together to push it one way or another. I’m letting this one sit on the fence.
If you’ve read this far into the review, you’ve likely already considered watching it, so take the small hit to the rental movie budget and check it out. You might have a laugh. I’d watch it again