An upscaling of the successful television series, The Inbetweeners Movie takes the four likely lads on a holiday to Malia, with awful chat up lines, fierce dance moves, vomiting and fights all ensuing.
Let’s get one thing straight, what The Inbetweeners Movie won’t do is convert non-believers into fully fledged fans. Rather than expanding on the comedy, it accentuates the themes and settings. Therefore, patrons of the television show will thoroughly get their fill, while those who didn’t buy into the series will see it as business as usual, lacking substantial enough improvements to force a change of heart.
Where The Inbetweeners has always shone is its spot-on depiction of the four main protagonists – Will (Simon Bird), Simon (Joe Thomas), Jay (James Buckley) and Neil (Blake Harrison). Anyone male and relatively young will inevitably see numerous characteristics and traits that hark back to their own childhoods, or more accurately, that transitional stage between childhood and adulthood, of which the title is a reference to. For those who struggle to empathise strongly with the group the ride will be not nearly as pleasant, though in most cases still enjoyable.
The four boys are exaggerated human beings, blown up versions of the awkward flaws that plague teenage existence. That’s not to say they’re not likable, in fact, they all have their redeeming features, which predictably come to their rescue as the film crescendos. For the large part ‘predictability’ sums up the plot, you’ll see the majority of the jokes coming – in particular the ones from the trailer, which are amongst the best but thankfully not exclusively the best.
So, the crux… is it funny? Thankfully, the simple answer is yes, there are enough laughs in here to make it a worthwhile experience. That’s not exclusively true for those who loved the series and will walk into the cinema primed to snort their popcorn with glee every time Jay says the word “clunge”, it should humour even moderate fans. Comparing it to other films that have emerged from the comedy genre so far this year, this is clearly a strong contender for the pick of the crop. In particular, when you put it side by side with the vast amount of laughter-sparse American movies (Zookeeper, The Dilemma, anything recent with Adam Sandler in it, etc) it actually stands up very well. Rapid-fire comedies are usually the best, Airplane is testament to that, and The Inbetweeners Movie has a good fist at it, though of course doesn’t get close to the aforementioned masterpiece.
Little annoyances, like a scene where we see the silhouette of Simon’s lips move unsynchronised with the post-production vocals, a sequence of dialogue shots that were filmed in inappropriate light after clearly running over schedule, and the slightly over the top use of slow-mo montages, betray the production’s shortcomings, as well as the director’s (Ben Palmer) lack of film experience. However, aside from these minor blips it’s a very decent big screen edition of the television series and one that will impress the majority of moviegoers, just don’t expect it to convert many sceptics.
Update – It just hit me, what on earth happened to the scene where Neil got tattooed in the trailer?