Absolutely Fabulous: 20th Anniversary Specials (DVD+UltraViolet)
Twenty years ago the world was introduced to Edina and Patsy (Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley), and it has never been quite the same since. The original fashionistas, PR rep Eddy and best friend Patsy were often found at the bottom of a champagne bottle – and not much has changed. Now, reprising their award-winning performances in three specials, we see a life-changing experience for one of the characters; Eddy has set her sights on changing the career of a very big fish indeed; and Eddy and Patsy play their own very special part in the London 2012 Olympics. Twenty years since we first met them, the ladies are a tiny bit older, none the wiser, but definitely still Absolutely Fabulous.
fans, rejoice! Eddie and Patsy (the marvelous Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley) have returned to stagger, flounder, and complain their way through a new era. Is it sad or delightful that this satire of narcissistic consumerism is about as relevant now as it was in the early 1990s? Absolutely Fabulous: 20th Anniversary Specials
includes three new half-hour episodes and a couple of special features (basically a mini-episode and a behind-the-scenes featurette about the mini-episode). In "Identity," Edina's long-suffering daughter Saffron (the underrated Julia Sawalha, as crucial to the series as Saunders and Lumley) comes home after a long absence, bringing along a guest with an unwelcome connection to Patsy. "Job" follows Eddie's attempts to promote a singing venture by her new client, a famous French film star (played with delicious ennui by Lindsay Duncan)--who, it turns out, can't sing. And in "Olympics," London hosting the Olympics is merely the backdrop for lust (Eddie is all aquiver that Michael Douglas is coming to visit her) and greed (Eddie pursues designer Stella McCartney in the hope of getting free clothes). Through it all wander Eddie's acerbic mother (June Whitfield) and addled assistant Bubble (Jane Horrocks). None of it quite rises to the heights of classic Ab Fab
, but that's hardly surprising; the cream of the original five series is inspired comedy, fusing social satire and madcap slapstick. What's impressive is that, a decade later, Saunders and Lumley step back into their teetering stilettos with verve and zest. Fans will appreciate this most, but even newcomers will find much to enjoy. --Bret Fetzer