Steve Coogan's revels in the role of the fading one-time talk show host now graveyard shift local radio DJ Alan Partridge. The Partridge character has evolved over 20 years, a period in which he has seen his star rise and fall - courtesy of killing a guest on live TV.Gareth Hargreaves, On The Box, 22nd December 2016
Steve Coogan returns as Norfolk's most self-deluded radio host, blagging his way on to the big screen via this very funny siege thriller. Partridge's marriage and career are, unsurprisingly, down the drain, but when a shotgun-toting, newly sacked colleague (Colm Meaney) takes the staff of North Norfolk Digital hostage, Partridge sees the chance to make his name as a negotiator. It's his finest, most hypocritical hour in East Anglia's Ace in the Hole.Paul Howlett, The Guardian, 22nd December 2015
Considering the awful track-record of UK TV characters given their own feature-films, I'm so relieved Steve Coogan's superlative Alan Partridge makes the transition this well. A project that's been rumoured for around a decade, it feels like the spectacular success of The Inbetweeners has made British TV production companies take the risk with a movie--knowing that even a UK-only hit will be enough to recoup low financial stakes.
Alpha Papa works because the situation is definitely something that suits cinema better than television (slightly), but it's not so grandiose that it betrays the character's small and specific pleasures. Alan Partridge has always been more verbally funny than physically hilarious, so it just makes sense to have a story set inside his radio station (North Norfolk Digital) on the eve of a corporate takeover that sparks a hostage crisis when colleague Pat (Colm Meaney) is sacked and loses his mind.
It's a predicament that puts Alan in a comfortable environment (literally "chatting for his life", as hostage negotiator and Pat's occasional cohort), but during an uncomfortable life-or-death week of craziness where he's suddenly a Very Important Person in the public mind. (I'm actually excited to see what the next Partridge product on television will be, as it would be logical for the character to get a career resurgence in the wake of Alpha Papa's events. He would at least get on Celebrity Big Brother, right?)
I'm just so relieved this film doesn't get too much wrong. The jokes and hilariously overwrought dialogue is intact, Coogan's predictably excellent (in a role he's perfected over 20-years at this point), and fans will appreciate the nods to various Partridge-universe characters and events. I especially enjoyed seeing Alan's long-suffering agent Lynn (Felicity Montagu) and "best friend" Michael (Simon Greenall) again, for the first time since 2002's I'm Alan Partridge (incredibly). Lynn gets a particularly nice sub-plot; enjoying being 'pampered' by the police, as someone with an insight into Alan.Dan Owen, Dan's Media Digest, 12th January 2014