Remarkably, the questions ‘why now’ or simply ‘why’ feel irrelevant when watching the Absolutely Fabulous movie.

The Jennifer Saunders-created sitcom’s regular run ended more than twenty years ago so by all rights it should feel dated and stale. Yet the magic is still there and this comedy about two hedonistic media women trying desperately to stay hip seems to fit today even better.

Let’s not forget these are the times of the Kardashians, of Bikram yoga, of Youtubers and of Tinder.

While the movie is far from faultless (in fact, there are some pretty low points) it does feel fresh and fun and it is loaded with laughs.

Thanks to a number of specials broadcast over the years, we’ve never totally lost with Saunders’ PR Eddy and her wrecking ball of a booze and drug consuming, shagger best friend Patsy (Joanna Lumley). The film picks them up still living the same Champagne lifestyle.

But Eddy’s clients have dried up. She tries to enlist Kate Moss and winds up shoving the supermodel – perhaps fatally - in the Thames, sending her and Patsy on the run in the south of France.

This is not one of those movies with a dense, twisting plot. Indeed, it is decidedly flimsy. But any story about this disastrous pair should be, shouldn’t it?

The magic, as it always was, is encapsulated in the two leads. Saunders as the frantic, self-obsessed Eddy remains a joy while Lumley’s Patsy is a total tour de force.

She wrings laughter from virtually every scene she is in and also has some killer lines. Judged by its jokes, the script is sharp.

We’re also glad to see the rest of the regular gang back, from Julia Sawalha’s Saffy to June Whitfield’s mother and Jane Horrocks’ delightfully oddball Bubble.

Supposedly part of the fun of this movie is spotting the 60-odd celebrity cameos – from Nick Grimshaw to Jerry Hall to Joan Collins to Suki Waterhouse etc – but it is also one of its biggest flaws.

So much effort has gone to cram them in that the first half of the movie becomes bloated. And most of the appearances are either clunky or badly acted or both.

Some, however, are good value: among them John Hamm running in to old flame Patsy and a visual gag with Dame Edna.

Kate Moss’s appearance is an enjoyable plot driver and Kathy Burke’s ruthless magazine editor is a huge amount of fun, though more of a fleeting character than cameo.

Despite some dreadful moments, which include and utterly uninspired car chase, the fun Ab Fab movie sticks to doing what the sitcom did best and does so without falling back on nostalgia.

I’m sure Eddy and Patsy would raise a Stolly-Bolly toast to that.

Absolutely Fabulous the Movie is out tomorrow (Friday, July 1)

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