British comedian and actor Steve Coogan is probably best known in the U.S. as one half of a pair of competing mimics in “The Trip” and for cowriting, producing and starring alongside Judi Dench in the Oscar-nominated drama “Philomena.”
In England, however, Coogan was a television superstar long before his film career took off. He is especially beloved for playing a character named Alan Partridge, a self-absorbed, socially inappropriate media-broadcast personality, on several series.
Both Ricky Gervais’ yammering, filterless David Brent character on the original British version of “The Office” and Will Ferrell’s outrageous Ron Burgundy in “Anchorman” owe something to Alan Partridge.
Coogan’s very funny new film, “Alan Partridge,” brings the motormouth misfit to the big screen while showcasing the actor’s comic mastery.
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The jump isn’t entirely smooth — the movie feels like a succession of sketch ideas — but it’s a good platform for Partridge’s blend of awkward patter, narcissism and utter cravenness.
The great Colm Meaney co-stars as Pat Farrell, a late-night radio host at a station where Partridge is a midmorning DJ. When new management sacks Farrell, he brings a gun to the office and holds everyone hostage.
The crisis puts Partridge and his considerable ego in the spotlight as he secretly helps (and alienates) the police, stages an embarrassing escape through a window and even replicates Al Pacino’s “Attica” scene from “Dog Day Afternoon.”
Good as Coogan typically is in any film, he has never seemed more grounded in a role than as Partridge, an alter ego he wears like a glove.
Tom Keogh: firstname.lastname@example.org