When I first watched "24 Hour Party People" back in 2002 I loved it, I loved Steve Coogan playing Alan Partridge playing Tony Wilson and I loved the potted musical history of Manchester. Having re-watched it for the first time in a decade my feelings towards it are a lot cooler as rather than being the hilarious chaos that I remembered it now often became annoying. The movie itself is still good and captures the chaos of the era especially when it comes to the likes of the Happy Mondays but something about it for me now doesn't work and unfortunately that is Steve Coogan.
So for those who have never watched "24 Hour Party People" it is a journey from the 70s to 90s as we follow the Manchester music scene and Tony Wilson, a presenter for Granada TV who cottoned on to something when The Sex Pistols played to 42 people in their first Manchester gig. What we get is a journey from Joy Division through to the Happy Mondays and Tony Wilson's influence as he managed various bands, setting up Factory Records and the famous The Haçienda club along the way.
I suppose to be honest "24 Hour Party People" is a movie for those who experienced the era, who experienced the chaos of the club and whilst I remember the chaos of the Happy Mondays much of what comes earlier such as Joy Division, the death of Ian Curtis and so on means nothing to me. Now on one hand it does make it interesting because in-between plenty of comedy you learn a few things when it comes to the musical scene and how bands came to be. And it also does a wonderful job of establishing how chaotic it was especially when it came to The Haçienda club which according to the movie might have been the place to be but it made no money. It almost establishes that Tony and those who were involved with the business had absolutely no idea about business and despite being involved in some of the biggest bands it was more by luck that it lasted for so long.
Now all that is fine and there are a lot of extremely good performances especially when it comes to actors playing very recognizable singers and bands. But I strangely have an issue with Steve Coogan because what it feels like is Steve Coogan playing Alan Partridge playing Tony Wilson, he gives him that sense of being oblivious and pompous which may have been how the real Wilson was but it makes it too Partridge like. In fact the various scenes which feature Tony Wilson as a host of his own TV show are very Partridge like and whilst at the time this was funny it now ends up making "24 Hour Party People" a little bit annoying.
What this all boils down to is that "24 Hour Party People" whilst still entertaining and does a good job of recreating the chaos of the era is not the brilliant movie I remembered it to be. And my problem comes down to the fact that it feels like Steve Coogan playing Alan Partridge playing Tony Wilson and it all becomes a bit annoying and corny.