Older, but certainly not wiser, PR agent Edina Monsoon (Jennifer Saunders) and magazine editor Patsy Stone (Joanna Lumley) have changed little. They still move in the most glamorous of circles, rubbing their haute-coutured shoulders with the rich and famous from London’s celebrity world. But Edina’s career is in the doldrums and she is rather broke, fancy house, extensive wardrobe, and expensive habits notwithstanding. And, when she hears that Kate Moss is looking for new representation, she hatches a plan to sign up the supermodel at a fashion launch party.

However, in her eagerness to strike up a conversation with Moss, she accidentally pushes her into the river Thames. And so Edina and, by association, Patsy, suddenly find themselves the target of every fashionista’s ire, the paparazzi and the police. Penniless, the duo flee to the south of France, where they inevitably get up to more mischief.

Springing from a sketch from Saunders’ comedy show with Dawn French in 1990, Absolutely Fabulous debuted as a sitcom in its own right in 1992 to great acclaim. It was consistently sharp and funny, and effortlessly gained an international fan base with its flamboyant characters and their outrageous behaviour. The comedy ran on TV on and off for years, with a number of series and specials hitting the small screen until, finally, Saunders was persuaded to write the script that would take the show to the big screen.

And here it is – and diehard fans will undoubtedly welcome the duo back with open arms. Although, it must be said that, although Saunders has nailed what works best as regards the characters she obviously knows so well, story wise it’s not a particularly strong effort.

As a result, the plot is as thin as many of the supermodels who cameo, yet Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie careens along on the strength of its two stars. Consummate professionals that they are, Saunders and Lumley slip back into their roles with ease. The chemistry between them is as strong as ever, as Eddy and Patsy, having aged completely disgracefully, steadfastly refusing to acknowledge they are growing old, and continue live their lives on a diet of champagne, cigarettes, the occasional pill and much Botox while partying good and hard. They do so completely unapologetically and refusing to be anything other than themselves while trying – and failing – to come to terms with the age of social media which simply baffles them.

They are the original women behaving badly, and when the two are on screen the zingers come thick and fast, the ‘darlings’ and ‘sweeties’ tripping off their tongues with comforting familiarity. Saunders’ physical schtick is still utterly funny – no one quite tumbles out of a cab quite like she does – while Lumley’s penchant for an expressive grimace remains hilarious. This is a relationship, both on and off screen, that has stood the test of time and it is testament to their indefatigable energy that the pace never flags. Just that this is enough to forgive the scantiness of the plot which, stretched over 90 minutes, feels like little more than an excuse for a catalogue of cameo appearances from luminaries of the fashion and acting worlds to come together.

Kudos to Moss for allowing herself to be at the centre of such a preposterous plot-line, while Mad Men’s Jon Hamm gets one of the funniest scenes of the film, as he recalls to his horror when (and how) he first met Patsy.

The success of the rest of the appearances – many of whom you may miss if you blink – enjoy varying degrees of success. The cameos run the gamut from actors Joan Collins and Glee’s Chris Colfer; comedian Barry Humphries; singers Lulu and Emma ‘Baby Spice’ Bunton; to model and entrepreneur Lily Cole; designer Stella McCartney and many, many more. But, thankfully, it never becomes the bloated, unfunny venture that was the recent, similarly-set Zoolander 2.

Other returning faces from the original show include Julia Sawalha as Eddy’s long-suffering daughter, still trying to keep her mother on the straight and narrow while giving the film a slight sense of normalcy in all the chaos; there’s also Jane Horrocks as Edina’s eccentrically ditzy assistant Bubble, and June Whitfield as Edina’s acerbic mother.Read more at:evening dresses | cocktail dresses