Alan Partridge Blu-ray Review
This reviewer should admit he was completely in the dark as to who Alan Partridge was, and if you tried to quiz him, he would only say, “Well, let’s see, David was on vocals and guitar, Danny was on bass, Laurie was a girl, so, um, probably the long-lost dad. Or maybe the manager. What was the manager’s name? Right, Reuben, of course. So probably the long-lost dad.”
As it turns out, Alan Partridge is a popular character created by Steve Coogan and Armando Iannucci in 1991 who has appeared on radio (ON THE HOUR) and television (I’M ALAN PARTRIDGE), as well as award shows and Comic Relief specials. And now he’s gotten his own movie, titled, aptly, ALAN PARTRIDGE (the original title was ALAN PARTRIDGE: ALPHA PAPA).
In it, North Norwich Digital is set to be bought out by a faceless corporation and be rebranded. With that rebranding will come firings, and either disc jockey Partridge (Coogan, PHILOMENA) or colleague Pat Farrell (Colm Meaney, who appears as Thomas “Doc” Durant on AMC’s HELL ON WHEELS) will be sent packing. Partridge will have none of it and concludes a rather frenzied “presentation” (complete with a Nazi impersonation and accidental slapping) with the words, “Just sack Pat.” Pat, in return, takes the building hostage.
Partridge is an easy guy to hate: he’s obnoxious (see: “Why do you have to turn this into a competition? Because I won.”), crude and has no filter (see: “Never criticize Muslims. Only Christians—and Jews, a little bit.”) And yet not once do we want Pat to jam the butt of his gun into Partridge’s jaw. There’s something impressive in how fast he spouts out his one-liners, and it’s quite the challenge to figure out whether he’s dense or a professional smartass.
Either way, Partridge is a chaotic bloke that is extremely difficult to keep up with. Just when you think the punchline has been nailed, the real one is just around the corner. Take, for example, the idea of corners. There’s a gag where Partridge meets up with a co-worker and initiates a walk-and-talk, much like Aaron Sorkin would write and shoot it. The first joke is one on THE WEST WING. The second comes right after, when Partridge admits he’s never seen the show. And then there’s a brief back-and-forth about turning corners, with the woman saying, “You never know what’s around the corner,” to which Partridge, deadpanning, replies, “More corners, usually.” There’s also the scene where Partridge leaves the station and waves down a car, shouting “There’s a madman! He’s Irish!” He gets in the car, pauses and asks the driver, “Why do you sit so close to the wheel?” Then he asks where the police station is, which, of course, is on the same block. (Not all of the gags build upon each other, but it seems the funniest do.)
ALAN PARTRIDGE is simultaneously insane and hysterical, and so is its main character. It’s easy to see why there is a bit of a cult and how it’s hard not to join. The movie is some sort of revelation that will make those unfamiliar with Alan Partridge think, How did this guy go under my radar for so long?
ALAN PARTRIDGE BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: 2.40:1 in 1080p with MPEG-4 AVC codec. This high-definition presentation of ALAN PARTRIDGE has some nice color and details throughout, but is sometimes weak during nighttime scenes.
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. Subtitles in English, Spanish and French. This is a relatively strong audio transfer, with clear dialogue and a stable soundtrack for the duration.
Making of ALAN PARTRIDGE (12:05): Star Steve Coogan, co-star Colm Meaney, writer Armando Iannucci and others discuss the Alan Partridge character, shooting the movie and more.
Behind the Scenes (1:42) is a compilation of various scenes being shot.
AXS TV: A Look at ALAN PARTRIDGE (2:56): This promotional piece covers the plot and characters.