Alan Partridge
June 9, 2014

Out tomorrow in the US on Blu-ray and DVD is Alan Partridge, a 90-minute film starring Steve Coogan as the radio DJ character that he’s played for over 20 years. (The movie was released last summer in the UK under the title Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa.)

Partridge is a remarkably un-self-aware local DJ who only wants to be famous. New management is taking over the station, and he selfishly gets another DJ fired to save his own job. That other DJ (Colm Meaney) then takes the station hostage. Partridge is sent in to negotiate, leading to a variety of ostensibly funny situations. The only other actor I recognized was Sean Pertwee as one of the police trying to resolve the hostage crisis.

Perhaps this is all much more entertaining if you’re already a fan of Coogan or the character, but with this as my first exposure to Partridge, I was severely underwhelmed. The movie felt like an episode of a boring sitcom with delusions of grandeur, and while I normally appreciate British comedy, this just wasn’t funny, unless you like laughing at people you would otherwise feel sorry for. (Then again, I also didn’t like The Office. I have a feeling the two might be related.)

Steve Coogan and Colm Meaney in Alan Partridge

Steve Coogan and Colm Meaney in Alan Partridge

There’s a 12-minute making-of that has very little insight, instead summarizing the movie and talking about how great it is. A two-minute “Behind the Scenes” shows some filming footage set to music, and “AXS TV: A Look at Alan Partridge” (3 minutes) duplicates much of the first extra. They mention in the making-of that they wanted both long-time fans and new viewers to be able to enjoy the movie, and it’s true that those who haven’t seen Alan Partridge before won’t be lost, since the character and situations are obvious enough. I just didn’t find them entertaining. (The studio provided a review copy.)

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