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Featured Blu-ray / DVD Review: Alan Partridge

October 26th, 2014

Alan Partridge - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray

In Alan Partridge, Steve Coogan plays Alan Partridge, a character he first played more than 20 years ago. However, for most people here, this will be their first introduction to the character. Will this be a problem? Are there too many inside jokes? Or will the humor be appreciated by even those who have never heard of Alan Partridge before?

The Movie

Alan Partridge is a mid-morning radio DJ at North Norfolk Digital, which has just been bought out by a big corporation, who are rebranding the radio station as Shape. One of his co-workers, Pat Farrell, who does the night time shift, is panicked over possible downsizing. Alan Partridge is one of those people who has a very high regard for himself, despite the obvious reasons that he should be a lot more humble. Pat is convinced he's about to be fired and practically begs Alan to intervene on his behalf. Eventually he agrees, but when he gets to the board meeting where these decisions are being made, he makes an impassioned plea to save Pat's job. At least he does till he realizes that someone's getting fired and it's either Pat or him. Suddenly he turns on Pat getting him fired.

While at the launch party for the new branding, Lynn, his personal assistant, sees Bettie, a girl he once had sex with. Alan asks Lynn to help him get rid of her, because she's a drunk racist and will probably say something to get him fired. While the three of them are out of the radio station, we see Pat enter the building with a shotgun and shortly after that we hear gunshots coming from the building. When Alan re-enters the building, he can't find anyone. At first he thinks he's the victim of some prank. It isn't until he sees Pat and Pat tries to shoot him that he realizes what happened.

Alan does the smart thing and runs away to the police. Once there, he is informed Pat will only speak to him. He agrees to before realizing he has to speak to Pat in person. At first he thinks Pat wants to kill him, but in reality, Pat thinks Alan is his friend. Can Alan use this trust to end the hostage situation peacefully? Or will his ego get in the way?

Alan Partridge is a fundamentally unlikable character. This is not a flaw. In fact, this is the central selling point of this character. It's a British thing. How much you like this movie depends heavily on your tolerance of this very British sense of humor. Overall, I liked the movie, even though there are plenty of cringe-inducing parts. Alan Partridge's obliviousness leads to many awkward moments. They also lead to many funny moments with Steve Coogan doing what he does best. On the downside, most of the side characters barely register. Colm Meaney is great as Pat Farrell, but the only other character with any real screen time is Sidekick Simon and he has his mouth taped up for a significant portion of that. I was going to give an example by name, but outside of Lynn, I couldn't actually remember anyone else's name. That tells you how little impact the supporting characters made.

The Extras

The extras begin with a 12-minute making of featurette. There is also a two-minute behind-the-scenes featurette and a three-minute AXS TV: A Look At... featurette. That's not a lot of extras, even for a limited release.

The technical presentation is as good as you would expect for a movie like this. It is a dialogue-driven comedy, so there's not a lot of visual flash. There's also nothing particularly wrong with the film either. It's digitally shot and the level of details, the colors, etc. are all excellent, it's just that you are not going to choose this movie when you want to show off your HD TV. Likewise, the audio is always clear, but there are not a lot of dynamic effects, for instance.

The Blu-ray cost $28, which is $12 or 75% more than the DVD. That's simply too much to ask.

The Verdict

If you like Steve Coogan's sense of humor, then Alan Partridge is worth owning. Sadly, there are not a lot of extras on the DVD or Blu-ray, while the Blu-ray costs too much compared to the DVD.

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Filed under: Video Review, Alan Partridge, Elizabeth Berrington, Steve Coogan, Colm Meaney, Key Tim, Felicity Montagu