By Elena Cresci
Moving on up from their humble small screen beginnings, the motley foursome from the hit Channel 4 sitcom The Inbetweeners have moved on up to the big screen with The Inbetweeners Movie. The film version sees Will (Simon Bird), Jay (James Buckley), Neil (Blake Harrison) and Simon (Joe Thomas) heading to Malia for a traditional lads holiday at one of the top Greek party destinations. What follows is a plotline unlikely to please the Greek tourist board but for the Inbetweeners boys, it’s awkward business as usual.
Exams are over and done with, but that doesn’t mean trouble is over for our four unlikely heroes. Will discovers his father ended up marrying his mistress without his knowledge and Jay is broken the bad news of his grandfather’s death at the worst moment possible. With Simon reeling from his breakup with Carli, the only person who seems to be on top is Neil, who is engaging in very public displays of affection with his girlfriend from work. Of course, the best remedy for these post-school blues is two weeks of sun, sea, sand and booze. The film doesn’t exactly show the Greek island of Crete at its best; despite Will’s initial efforts to go and experience a bit of culture, the holiday pans out as expected, with plenty of booze and hideous hangovers.
It almost goes without saying, but if you’re a fan of the TV series, then you’ll enjoy the film immensely. It never deviates from the core basis of cringe humour which characterised the series from the start. As you would expect from a sitcom turned feature film, it feels almost episodic in nature. This feature has often been a major downfall for other sitcoms turned feature films, yet The Inbetweeners Movie works precisely because it doesn’t move worlds away from what was loved about the series. In short, the writers knew what worked and they ran with it, and it’s hard pressed to find much wrong with that when the results are as enjoyable as they are here.
The four principal actors are true to form, reprising the roles of their awkward adolescents with gusto. Simon Bird puts in yet another great performance as the luckless with ladies Will, but the real charm comes from the interactions of the group as a whole. You don’t get much better than an attempt by the boys to dance their way into four ladies’ affections with dance moves I’ve since seen cropping all over the place whenever ‘No Speak Americano’ is played.
At any rate, it’s pretty clear there’s no point in taking this film seriously. Unfortunately, as enjoyable as it is, it’s by no means perfect. The entire reason the Inbetweeners style of humour is so accessible is because it ridicules everything you hated about adolescence. So it’s somewhat disappointing when the writers head down the predictable route of assigning each boy an attractive girl to end up with at the end of the film. While it’s heart-warming to see our unlikely heroes end up with some lovely ladies after so much failure during the series, it smacks of cliché and just isn’t true to the spirit of the series at all.
If you’re privy to The Inbetweeners style of comedy, then you’re not going to be able to breathe for laughing, but the lad humour is not going to appeal to everyone. At times, it’s more retch-worthy than laugh-worthy, but what else is to be expected from a film spawned from a series which featured one of the main characters defecating himself during an exam? It’s safe to say those who hated the series aren’t going to like the film, but they’re not likely to pay to go and see it either. As a much loved series, The Inbetweeners deserved a good send off, and that’s exactly what you’ll get in the film version.
8 OUT OF 10