Natalie Stendall film review - Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa

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Steve Coogan revives his self-centred, middle-aged disc jockey for the big screen in British comedy Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa.

When local radio station, North Norfolk Digital, is taken over by predictable corporate bosses, disgruntled ex-DJ Pat Farrell (Colm Meaney) takes the executives hostage in an armed siege.

With some clunky storytelling and a few too many convenient plot points, Alan (Steve Coogan) becomes the face of the Police rescue mission and Britain’s favourite mole.

Fans of the late 90s television series - that saw the narcissistic Alan battle his way through divorce and a myriad of failed career goals - will be pleased to see personal assistant, Lynn Benfield (Felicity Montagu) back in the mix, providing a moral compass for the fame hungry Alan, whose ego swells to mammoth proportions when his televised success sees long coveted breakfast shows beckon.

But Alpha Papa’s Alan Partridge feels something of a watered down version of the insecure DJ.

The uncomfortable humour and cringeworthy scenarios that underpin the show’s trademark style are disappointingly toned down for Hollywood.

While Alan’s ego and quest for popularity simmer throughout the movie, his loneliness, regrets and selfish nature - a breeding ground for edgy humour that was recently harnessed in the more original, Mid Morning Matters - never quite come to the boil.

A cheap gag that sees Partridge caught in the buff marks the film’s low point, while the movie’s prime cuts find their way into a gag-spoiling trailer.

The jokes are far easier to watch - more predictable and less tinged with pity - than Partridge fans have come to expect, but Alpha Papa is still stuffed with giggles.

A ranting radio jingle cobbled together at gunpoint and a very British final showdown, capture Coogan’s quirky sense of humour.

The plot never strays far from its premise and despite a few clumsy subplots that don’t quite fit with Alan’s trademark unpopularity, Alpha Papa rolls along smoothly for easy entertainment.

While Alpha Papa’s message about the importance of independent radio rings true, it’s unfortunate that Alan Partridge’s own originality is watered down in favour of Hollywoodised comedy that falls a long way short of Alan’s recent TV revival in Sky’s Mid Morning Matters and trio of Partridge specials.

A cheerful ending is likely to leave audiences feeling less sorry for this complex character than, perhaps, they should.

Certificate: 15

Running Time: 90 minutes

Verdict: 3/5