Jennifer Saunders as “Edina” and Joanna Lumley as “Patsy” in the film ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS: THE MOVIE. Photo by David Appleby. © 2016 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved
Every time I dabble in the “now” of fashion (which is usually a retread of the “then” of fashion) — gaucho pants, massive Jackie O’s, chartreuse tights, orange lipstick — I wrinkle my nose in the mirror and think, am I an Edina?
That would be Edina Monsoon, the hilariously oblivious character from the British tv series Absolutely Fabulous. Edina, or Eddy, tenuously “works” as a PR rep and sports the most techni-crazy mash-ups of trendy items — and often wearing form-fitting, lycra-esque pants and avant-garde hats. Like Eddy I am at the age where I’m supposed to settle into weekend khakis and clogs, but of course wouldn’t dare dahling. Well at least not all the time. I, too, have my neurotic moments: Can I pull this off lovey? A little more botox in the brow?
This past Tuesday night (natch), TueNight was invited to a screening of the brand new Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie. Creator and writer Jennifer Saunders (Edina) and Joanna Lumley (Patsy) reprise their roles as the sex, drugs and injectable-addled fashionistas of a certain age.
I brought my own blonde Patsy to the screening — Shelly, my longtime co-conspirator with a fondness for fads, a riotous good time and fabulous wigs. No wigs tonight, just me and my nearly bald head, Shelly in her bell sleeves.
“If I wore this in Ardmore, I’d get stares. Here, no one gives a shit. I love New York.”
Unlike our heroes, we didn’t sauce up on champagne and hard drugs beforehand. However we did have a slice of pizza and diet coke. We’re not the sort of dainties that go to a screening hungry.
The stars themselves were on hand to introduce the movie, gorgeous and witty as ever.
“What are you looking forward to next” the interviewer asked Joanna and Jennifer.
“We’re just happy to be alive darling,” said Lumley, sounding very Patsy-esque.
It didn’t hurt that the screening was in Chelsea, packed with gay couples and two decked-out drag queens slurping Icees.
Saunders noted, “It was basically the LGBT community that broke AbFab for us in America… We love you very much.”
Lumley added with a smoky purr, “I think we love you very much more than very much.”
I’ll admit I had middling expectations for the movie; I worried this would be a Sex in the City, stars-on-camels, dull-fest. Oh, was I wrong. AbFab is a hilarious romp — and the perfect antidote to a sweltering, tough summer.
Saunders’ writing still snaps and crackles, and 58-year-old Saunders and 70-year old Lumley (70! Amazing! #Goals) are as spirited and hilarious as ever. Granted, you need a bit of familiarity with the series to appreciate the plentiful winks and nods and returning characters. (Gran!). There are a gazillion fantastic cameos, and I’ll only spoil three by saying Joan Collins, Joan Collins, Joan Collins.
This time the inane (but who cares!) plot involves a possibly dead Kate Moss. Poor Saffy is still suffering as the plain, practical foil. Patsy is still guzzling Chanel No. 5 and slicking her teeth with a white substance. Edina is still utterly insensitive to ever living being — including her granddaughter who she pawns off as a hotel maid. Despite all this, there is an undeniable poignancy in this tale of a diehard friendship between two loopy women.
After the film Shelly and I went across the street to one of her favorite bars, Trailer Park, a junkyard of retro goodies, Elvis lamps and 7up signs. We had a margarita (my first in a while), visited the photo booth and fended off some drunk puffy-haired guy in a visor who had just moved back from Florida. He looked fresh off the putting green.
He happily joined us in a toast to our heroic sirens — here’s to living the dream, not giving two shits and bloody good friendship.
This post is made possible by support from Fox Searchlight Pictures. All opinions are my own.