If you thought the title ‘Alpha Papa’ meant a close, Super nanny style look at Alan’s parenting style of Denise and Fernando Partridge, well then you’re ruddy bloody wrong. Not every television series has an easy transition to film. As much as I love the Partridge television series, part of me did wonder how this transition was going to work. Nonetheless, Steve Coogan (Alan himself) is such a comedic genius that I never truly doubted his abilities to make this work.
Of all Coogan’s creations, Alan is the most popular, which is interesting, as he is actually incredibly repugnant. He’s egomaniacal, selfish, crude, rude and to borrow a phrase from the man himself, ‘a bit odd’. What’s brilliant about Alan is that he is never completely unbelievable as a character. It’s quite possible you could meet an Alan in the wilderness of your real life. Perhaps in Tesco.
We pick up with Alan in his favourite setting...the studio. This time he seems to have acquired himself a young, slightly dim-witted sidekick named Simon (Tim Key) who sits in on his sessions and contributes meaninglessly to Alan’s chagrin.
In the fast paced, cut throat world of commercial radio, North Norfolk Digital is being slowly coaxed into the hands of a ruthless conglomerate and transformed into ‘Shape’. That means some dead woods gotta go. Said dead wood is emotional rollercoaster Pat (played in a superbly downbeat fashion by Colm Meaney) who does not take the news well. Instead he transforms the office party into a hostage situation, accumulating conglomerate scum, a new bit of skirt (Monica Dolan as Angela), a random cleaner who appears to utter only one line, and fellow radio staff, Dave Clifton (who enjoys regaling the others with stories of his days of alcohol, drugs and prostitutes in a voice dripping with pseudo-delirium) and some young blood that everybody wants to punch in the face...and repeatedly do.
Now that the station is under siege, Pat will only agree to communicate with the police through Alan. Cue the hilarity of awkward Alan trying to a) remain calm and b) not ramble.
This is darker than your traditional Partridge fare. But then, Partridge has always had a little darkness to it. Driving to Dundee in his bare feet, gorging on Toblerone, living in a travel tavern...Alan’s had many ‘low’ moments. The addition of fresh characters to an already much loved cast (yes loyal Lynn and Geordie Michael do make an appearance) keeps this recognisable and real.
There are enough jokes to keep you laughing throughout the entire film. Our cinema screen barely had a quiet moment. Alan works on the big screen surprisingly well. It gives him a chance to be the James Bond he has always wanted to be. But it’s not just about Alan running around telling jokes, facts of the day and sarcastic quips. There is humanity for Alan to discover too...oh and there’s also some truly Partridge dancing and hard core dance music. What’s not to love?
Part comedy, part thriller, part action movie, all Alan, all that’s left to say is A-HAAAAAAA!