Part Two of our good four-hour session in the Jersey Cineworld consisted of the hit comedy The Inbetweeners Movie. It had to be done. This film has, by far, been the break out comedy hit in the UK this summer, so to pass up the chance to go watch it would’ve been insane. Especially considering how brilliant the three tv series have been, capturing the sometimes unbearable awkwardness of teenage life (although I’ve never quite experienced the painful events these guys have, much can be learnt from The Inbetweeners!) And despite having heard how funny it was and seeing how well it was doing, I was still sceptical as to how good this jump from TV to film for The Inbetweeners would be. UK sitcom film adaptations don’t have a great track record; for every Kevin and Perry Go Large, there’s a Mr. Bean’s Holiday, so it was going to be interesting to see how this would fair. But now, I don’t know what the hell I was worrying about. I’m sure Jay would call me a wanker for ever doubting them.
Sixth Form has come to an end for friends Will (Simon Bird), Simon (Joe Thomas), Jay (James Buckley) and Neil (Blake Harrison), and with the summer comes the prospect of a lads holiday away for one last chance to get boozed up and (hopefully) laid before they all go their separate ways. Because, as Neil observes, they say the summer is the perfect time for a summer holiday. But of course, things never run smoothly for these four guys. There’s really not a lot else to explain story wise, as that basic concept lays the ground work for all the holiday themed hilarity to ensue. And of course, there are subplots, mostly involving Simon continually pining over now ex-girlfriend Carly (Emily Head) and the lads trying to score with four fellow holiday makers, the hot Alison (Laura Haddock), the cute and sweet Lucy (Tamla Kari), the larger than life *ahem* Jane (Lydia Rose Bewley) and the dim-witted Lisa (Jessica Knappet). The plot may be thinly stretched, but The Inbetweeners has never truly been about story, its been about the experience of being a teenager, but most importantly it’s been about the characters. And thankfully, the movie doesn’t lose sight of that.
There hasn’t been a film this consistently funny for quite some time, particularly in this year. In terms of comedy, this year has been a bit thin. The Hangover: Part Two wasn’t as funny as it thought it was, due to replaying the same things we saw the first time round. If anything, the funniest movie was, reportedly, Bridesmaid, but I haven’t seen that. So it’s refreshing to say that right at the end of the summer season we have a film that is consistently funny, gag-for-gag. If you’re used to The Inbetweeners, then you’ll definitely know what to expect, and that is the unexpected. The writers, Iain Morris and Damon Beesley have great skill in setting up a comedic situation seemingly out of nothing, with often hilarious and crude results. And the movie certainly doesn’t skimp on the cringe-worthy awkwardness that became so trademark to the series. There’s nothing quite on the level of punching a fish to death or the fashion show wardrobe malfunction, but there is plenty here to catch you off guard and have you in stitches. I won’t go into detail as I don’t want to ruin this for anybody who hasn’t seen it yet, but it certainly has some memorable gags. We’ll being doing that dance in clubs for years to come.
However, while the gag rate is high, the movie does find it difficult to escape the episodic nature of its TV counterpart, as many series that make the jump to the big screen tend to do. This is very apparent come the end of the movie, when the writers seem to come to a point where they run out of steam and the proceedings are wrapped up rather quickly. Thankfully though, these parts of the film are made forgivable due to the chemistry that the four leads have with each other, and the audience for that matter. Fans couldn’t have asked for a better movie for these characters, as they all get their trademark moments and a chance to shine. These characters are second nature to the actors now and they make the movie a fun and familiar experience, it’s as if you’re taking this trip with them as one of the group. It also makes the more emotional scenes ring much more true. The Inbetweeners has always had a way of tapping in to the mindset and, in some strange way, the real life issues of teenage life, and with the movie it covers the usual girl problems and the bigger notion of having to move away from your friends come university life. It’s an issue a lot of us are having to face right now, and even though the movie doesn’t let it get in the way of the fun, it still addresses these issues with characters that we ultimately care about, therefore it rings more true. And it’s due to the characters that we have so much fun during the course of this movie. The care we have for these characters adds to how funny, and how frustratingly cringe-worthy the proceedings are. And they only have themselves to blame most of the time, be it Will”s pompous attitude, Jay’s vocabulary, Neil’s care-free attitude or Simon’s inability to just see what is right in front of him (poor Lucy).
In terms of the move from television to the big screen, the creators don’t make a lot of different style choices to what we’re used to seeing in the series. Although, director Ben Palmer does seem to be under the mentality that to make anything cinematic you just have to whack the slow-mo setting on. It does allow for some rather funny scenes, particularly on the reveal of the Pussay Patrol t-shirts in Gatwick airport (on par with Reservoir Dogs for best movie slow walk ever). But the series itself wasn’t one that was huge on style, so the film format does work for the most part, and there’s always plenty of room for some very funny montages as the boys take to the streets of Malia for an almighty booze up. This film probably shouldn’t have worked as well as it did, and if this is indeed the end of The Inbetweeners, then they’re certainly going out on an archaic, hilarious, crude and rude note. And that’s the way it should be. To the Pussay!