A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie is a feature-length comedy based on the popular British TV series about two self-absorbed, middle-aged best friends (Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley) who are always on the lookout for the latest cocktail, youthful trend, beauty regimen, and luxury party. The vain, materialistic BFFs are now in their 60s but are still lushes who curse, pop pills, snort cocaine, and manipulate people (even one's own granddaughter) into paying for their upscale hi-jinks. There's quite a bit of strong language ("f--k" especially) and substance use (the two main characters are always drinking or taking something), but sexual content is limited to suggestive references (to past exploits and porn) and a couple of kisses. The violence is all slapstick with no injuries or deaths (just the momentary appearance of such).
What's the story?
ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS: THE MOVIE is the continuation of the legendary BBC sitcom about two best friends: single mum Edina "Eddy" Monsoon (Jennifer Saunders) and single-for-life Patsy Stone (Joanna Lumley). Now that they're pushing 60, Eddy is sort of a has-been PR rep whose celebrity client list has dwindled to aging pop stars Lulu and Emma "Baby Spice" Bunton (both playing themselves). After party planner Patsy hears that Kate Moss has left her publicist, Eddy decides to rush in to sign her -- but accidentally pushes Moss into the Thames, leading to a nation-wide search for her body and criminal charges against Eddy. Taking along Eddy's beautiful teen granddaughter (for her credit card), Eddy and Patsy head to Cannes, where they hope to escape authorities by luring an older rich man to marry one of them and finance the good life. Meanwhile Eddy's sensible daughter, Saffron (Julia Sawalha), also flies to France to find her semi-kidnapped daughter.
Is it any good?
Forget about Girls and Broad City and enjoy the original best friends behaving badly: "60 is the new 40" champagne guzzlers Eddy and Patsy. In fact, Broad's Ilana and Abbi owe a debt to Eddy and Patsy's absurd shenanigans, which paved the way for fictional women friends to act every bit as immature, self-involved, and raucous as their male counterparts. Chock-full of British celebs (Sadie Frost, Stella McCartney, Alexa Chung, Suki Waterhouse, Dame Edna, and the grand dame of well-kept women of a certain age, Joan Collins), Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie is exactly what you'd expect from Saunders and Lumley: slapstick and humiliation humor and a hilariously enduring friendship that nothing can stop.
Beyond the central theme of partying besties, AbFab has always explored how Eddy's perpetual search for youthful relevance led her daughter, Saff, to be the "boring" mature one, and that dynamic continues in the movie. Yes, there are plenty of Stoli- and Bollinger-fueled excesses and exploits, but in the end this is also a story about friendship, family, and acceptance. While Americans might not clue in to all of the cameos, those who've see the Britcom will enjoy this additional hurrah from Eddy and Patsy, two of the most iconic female characters to ever grace the screen.
Talk to your kids about ...
Are there positive messages underneath the partying and selfishness? How would you describe them? Would you like the story/characters as much without them?
When the original show was first popular, there were few other female characters on the air who acted like Eddy and Patsy. How have things changed in pop culture? What current TV shows or movies are examples of "best friends behaving badly"?
Is it more unusual to see women over 60 acting this way than women in their 20s or even 40s? Why do you think that is?
- In theaters: July 22, 2016
- On DVD or streaming: November 29, 2016
- Cast: Jennifer Saunders, Joanna Lumley, Jane Horrocks
- Director: Mandie Fletcher
- Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Friendship
- Run time: 90 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: language including sexual references, and some drug use
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