As a fan of the TV show which I feel brilliantly highlighted the experience of secondary school in a (sort of) true to life way rather than the American high school 90210 hijinks, I approached the movie with some trepidation. Could it be a successful transition of a treasured TV property to the big screen? Or would it be more akin to the misfire of Kevin and Perry Go Large?
It falls somewhere in-between, funnily enough.
Essentially a feature length episode, transporting our foursome on a lads holiday to Malia, it’s filled with the same sort of knob and bodily function gags that the series has become known for. With a lot of swearing thrown in as well. Except in the attempt to make it as accessible to the widest audience as possible in cinemas a lot of the more risqué elements of the TV series have been toned down. I mean, it’s still filthy and utterly vulgar at times, but to me it seemed to have lost some of the edge it had watching on E4. Apparently a lot of cuts had to be made to get the rating down to a more box office friendly 15 rating. I reckon an 18 rated Inbetweeners movie would be far better.
In the TV show there was a joy, a relatable joy, in seeing these 4 guys try and fail and try again to get girls. The template for the movie however is the same as countless other teen coming-of-age stories, and I expected something a bit more cutting from the Inbetweeners. The story, such as it is, revolves around leaving your old life behind and becoming a man. All well and good, but it doesn’t do anything new with the formula except add in some dick jokes. And while it is nice seeing the characters grow up a bit, I just wish it hadn’t done it in quite such a clichéd and well trodden way; Simon spends the whole movie blatantly ignoring the girl he meets on holiday who interested in him because he’s pining after his ex girlfriend Carly, but wouldn’t you know it, by the end realises that he doesn’t want Carly after all but the new girl. It been used so many times its bordering on parody, but here it used as if it’s something we’ve never seen before. In fact, the plot of the movie is basically the same as Superbad, except you have four leads instead of two. It even has the one-friend-realises-that-the-other-friend-is-going-to-uni-and-is-leaving-him-behind scene that Superbad did. However Superbad is a much more consistently funny movie.
Which is the other problem with the movie; it’s not as funny as you might hope. In fact, I can only remember one scene in which I full on belly laughed and that was the dance scene near the start when all of the lads (except Jay) dance over to a group of girls. It’s the sort of cringeworthy but hilarious scene that the TV show had in spades, but the movie only has one of. There’s nothing else that matches it, and certainly nothing as good as punching a fish to death. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still very funny in parts, but the attempts to wring some genuine emotion from the situations ring false and clash horribly with the comedic elements. The TV series meshed the two much better, for example when Jay is dumped the guys can tell he’s gutted and the audience feels bad for him, but his fake excuse for being dumped is hilarious (his penis was too big for her apparently) and yet you still feel bad for him despite his bullshitting.
So overall, it’s good but not great. Worth going to see, but I probably wouldn’t watch it again unlike the TV show, which I could watch countless times.
However, Neil is still comedy gold. And Will is still my favourite character.
2 and a half stars, you bumders.