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Laramie Movie Scope:
Alan Partridge

Wacky British comedy about a hostage crisis

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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November 30, 2014 -- Radio host Alan Partridge (played by Steve Coogan of “Philomena”) finds himself in the middle of a hostage situation at the radio studio where he works. He ought to be afraid, but he uses the situation to advance his career. At times, he's brilliant. At other times he's a complete idiot, but he's always a survivor.

Alan comes to work one day and discovers a large company has purchased the station and put his job in jeopardy. Being the senior DJ at the station, his friend, Pat Farrell (Colm Meaney of “Get Him to the Greek”) asks him to speak to the new ownership group about saving their jobs. At first he praises Farrell, but Alan finds that it is either him or Farrell to be let go, he immediately tells the owners to fire Farrell.

Farrell is promptly fired, but he comes back to work that evening and crashes the new ownership party with a shotgun. He takes over the station, locking people in a room and broadcasting his demands over the air. He refuses to speak to anyone but Alan. When Alan discovers he has become an Internet sensation during the drawn out hostage crisis, he makes the most of it, relaying Farrell's demands to the police and prolonging the crisis.

Alan is a motor mouth who talks absolute rubbish most of the time and he'll do anything to keep his job and protect himself, but it turns out there is a core of decency in him. When the station owners push him too far, he turns on them and takes off with Farrell in a hilarious slow-speed chase in a broadcast van. Farrell and Alan get along fine, until Farrell finally discovers it was Alan who got him fired from his job in the first place, then things get tense.

I didn't think the film's setup, prior to the hostage crisis, worked very well, but once Farrell takes the hostages, the film hits high gear and it works well the rest of the way. There are some very funny scenes because the situation is being controlled by two nut cases, Alan and Farrell. The hostages are just as strange for the most part, including the owners. The police, however, are very serious. Somebody needs to be.

This is basically a farce. Everything is slightly out of kilter, as if it is taking place in some slightly different universe. The only person who seems comfortable in this crazy place is Alan. Most others in this situation seem very uncomfortable and out of place. Alan gets himself into some very dangerous situations, but he is a survivor, and always seems to come up with some crazy idea to save himself.

This is a British comedy and it is different than most American comedies. British humor doesn't always work in America, which may be why the early part of the film didn't seem funny to me at all. This was the part of the film where the characters are being established.

Steve Coogan, Colm Meaney and the rest of the cast are very good. The plot has enough interesting twists in it to keep the hostage situation from getting stale. This film rates a B.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in digital formats, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2014 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

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