September 27, 2013

NYFF 13'- Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa: "Alan Partridge! Who the f- Alan Partridge!"

While I was spending my summer in the UK, I took it upon myself to see some movies. During the trailers, I noticed that this character “Alan Patridge” would pop up and  give some goofy pre-movie psa about turning off your cell phones. Didn’t really think much of it, until a co-worker informed me that Alan Patridge was the creation of Steve Coogan, and was very popular in Britain.

Alan Partridge, a bumbling, clock radio DJ, soon finds himself in a bit of a predicament when his career is on the line. After throwing his friend under the bus, he is soon swept up in a hostage situation, which gains media attention (much to Alan's delight.) Partidge becomes the head negotiator and must try to calm the situation before it turns violent.

I'm always fascinated about the subject of comedy between Brits and Americans. I wrote a paper on the matter while I was studying in London, and started to notice a lot of the classic characteristics in this film. This is an extremely British film.  Plain and simple. Queen and country. It was intended to cater to a British audience. I saw this movie twice (press and general audience) and there were way more laughs in the general screening, funny enough. There were many fans of Steve Coogan in the audience as well, so that was probably part of the reason. During the Q & A Steve Coogan admitted that he was surprised that the film was making its US debut at NYFF, because it didn’t seem like the type of film that would fit. Steve then started talking about the difference between American humor and British humor and how it's evolved over the years. Coogan also brought up the fact that American love when their protagonists are confident and cool while the English enjoy when their characters are kind of losers and average Joe's. This holds true to the character Alan Patridge, who prides himself on being suave and above it all, but is really kind of a schmuck.

If you appreciate British humor and the nuances that come with it, this film is right for you. It's nothing groundbreaking, and I wasn't on the floor in stiches, but I did find myself giggling and smiling through most of the film. I, also, feel that if you're trying to get a grasp on basic British humor (besides Monty Python) then definitetly check it out.

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