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"Alan Partridge": In Which the British Once Again Try to Reach Us With Their "Humor" 

Wednesday, Apr 23 2014

After a failed attempt to break into the American comedy mainstream with 2008's Hamlet 2, British actor Steve Coogan has gained a higher profile in America through more dramatic films, such as What Maisie Knew and especially Philomena. But the Brits (and certain American Anglophiles) still know him best for his long-running characterization of the boorish and inept broadcaster Alan Partridge. After appearing in various television shows and specials since the 1990s, Alan Partridge is the character's first feature film. The premise is solid enough: On the eve of their tiny Norfolk radio station getting bought out by a media conglomerate, Partridge's fellow DJ Pat (Colm Meaney) takes the station hostage, and Alan tries to spin the siege to his own advantage while simultaneously saving his own skin. Coogan does a fine job — as does Meaney, demonstrating why he's one of the hardest-working actors in UK cinema — but without the benefit of having seen the character in other contexts, Partridge never comes across as a strong enough character to carry the movie, nor is the script as sharp or insightful about media consolidation as one would hope from writer/producer Armando Ianucci (The Thick of It and Veep). Still, with any luck, Alan Partridge will inspire newbies to seek out Partridge's earlier, funnier appearances.

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Sherilyn Connelly

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