Director: Ben Palmer
Cast: Simon Bird, Joe Thomas, James Buckley, Blake Harrison, Laura Haddock, Emily Head, Tamla Kari, Lydia Rose Bewley
Plot: With Simon (Thomas) heartbroken, the four Inbetweeners decide to throw caution to the wind and head off for a lad’s holiday in Malia. Hilarity ensues.
Imagine for a moment if you will, the Inbetweeners as an American comedy. American TV has always been infamous for its terrible upgrade to the big screen. As was the case with Drake and Josh, they take the obvious route of throwing the lead characters into a stereotypical Hollywood movie. The end result is often a story about criminals and mistaken identity, just with the exception of two famous TV stars at the centre of it all. It lacks originality and almost never pays off, as well as it promises. The best thing about the Inbetweeners movie is that it never allows itself to step out of its own niche of comedy. With the exception of a change in location, this is exactly what we expect from an Inbetweeners Movie: exactly the same, just bigger.
If you are a British reader, you are most likely already familiar with the hit comedy show. As a show, it plays it straight and narrow. The show is essentially about four lads in high school, going through everything British lads in high school go through. Cue experimenting with drugs and truancy, losing your virginity at all costs, grand romantic gestures that diverge into creepiness. On paper, it is nothing that we haven’t seen a million times before. However, the spark is the honesty and grounded reality of the delivery. While the Inbetweeners is clearly an exaggeration of what we have been through, we can always relate to the characters, as they wrestle with the elusive concept of ‘cool.’ The movie never forgets that. It strips away the mythology of these Greek lads’ holiday resorts and gives the audience an honest portrayal of what they are like. Despite being filmed in ‘Shagalouf’, proceedings are rarely sexy; in fact, it purposefully becomes borderline sleazy. Seeing as most lads see these holidays as a sure-fire way of getting laid, it is a refreshing take on the subject and the Inbetweeners is the perfect tool to trim through the legend.
Above all else, it is impossibly funny. The Inbetweeners has made several of its scene hit cult status from ‘bus-stop wankers’ to the ‘following-through in an exam’ gag. This movie is no different. Certain jokes will go down in history, especially one of the greatest dance routines in cinema, as the four lads try and pick up a group of girls in a club. It is the kind of humour that makes this film easy to watch over and over again. The only thing that gets too much is the embarrassment you feel for the characters, but that was always the show’s style. As Will digs himself a hole and carries on digging, you can feel yourself going red at the cheeks. Joe Thomas is my personal favourite as Simon, the one prone to outbursts that verge on tantrums, unable to realise that this girl is all over him, too focused on his ex-girlfriend. Then, of course, there is Jay and Neil, who never fail to bring a smile to your faces, especially as Neil decides he has a fondness for older women (“it’s not cheating if only the tip goes in”). The jokes carry on all the way to the very end, never taking the foot off the gas, yet never getting old.
But it is the heart at the centre of it all that really makes the Inbetweeners a must-see film. The friendship between these four leads holds the entire film together, really tugging at your heart-strings, in a way that you weren’t expecting, when you picked up a teen comedy. Taking the heart of Superbad and dialling it up a notch, you really begin to feel for these characters. A rare break from the jokes sees Jay’s heart break, when he realises Simon is heading off to University and not joining him on his misguided plan to set up his own business. All of the plot points are thinly hidden microcosms for the boys’ internal struggles. A punch-up between two of the characters is just an explosion of emotions. Despite a sequel coming out this year, this movie would have really worked as an epilogue to the series. It ties up the characters really well and this would have been a great closing outing for this show.
Final Verdict: Never anything less than pure comedy gold, yet never lacking in heart, the Inbetweeners gives the British a much-needed win in the teen comedy category.