STEVE COOGAN COLM MEANEY
I think Oscar nominee Steve Coogan (Philomena, Trip to Italy) is probably the funniest and most underrated comedic actor working today. With that being said, Alan Partridge is probably the least inspired and unfunny film I have seen from Coogan since I decided he was funny. Most of the best comedians don’t take themselves as serious in real life; they know how to switch it off and continue to challenge themselves in other genres. The versatility Coogan displayed last year in Philomena (worthy of a supporting actor nomination in my opinion) has made me want to watch him in anything I can get my hands on. Alan Partridge is based on a television series in Britain starring Coogan and the rest of the cast here; this is their big screen adaptation.
Alan Partridge (Coogan) is a finger on the hand of a radio station in Norfolk that has recently been taken over by a larger corporation and looking to clean out some of the cobwebs and ratings killers currently employed there. Originally Alan, who considers himself a big celebrity in a small town, has interrupted the board meeting to explain why the radio station should keep Pat Farrell (Meany), who does the graveyard show, for listening with one foot in the grave. Yet when he sees the axe is going to fall on either his segment or Farrell's, he does the wrong thing. Farrell, after being canned, retaliates in what becomes a hostage situation with a double barrel rifle and a standoff where Alan is the only person Farrell will communicate with.
Humor, wit, and sarcasm are the items you typically find spewing from Coogan’s mouth, but here it’s an endless string of headache inducing dialogue from a character that should be leaving grease stains wherever he walks. Maybe the UK sense of humor doesn’t make the translation in this one, but whatever routine, skit or concept of funny entertainment they were going for is lost on the need to combine it with what any other film would call a dire situation.
The clear criticism here is that Alan Partridge should never have been adapted into a feature. It runs very thin on jokes and interest, at one point even resulting to toilet jokes to make it to the inevitable conclusion. Coogan is smarter than this character gives him credit for, with a nasty smile and horrible wig. Sure, I get the farce on radio jockeys and perhaps this would have worked in a more Christopher Guest type of assembly, but even as the jokes lead the screenplay here, the film takes itself too seriously, winding up in the middle ground of not really funny, not very serious and I don't care about anything I am watching. Final Thought – Alan Partridge derails the winning streak Coogan was on.
By: Dustin Chase