As I said in my review of the second Inbetweeners film last year, I am an absolutely huge fan of Damon Beesley and Iain Morris’ comedy series. I fell in love with the characters, writing, but above all else, the huge level of authenticity of the life of British teenagers. So, it only seems fitting that five years(!) on, we take a look at the film that propelled Will, Simon, Neil and Jay to worldwide fame: 2011’s The Inbetweeners Movie.
Picking up soon after the end of the third series, The Inbetweeners Movie begins with the Will (Simon Bird), Simon (Joe Thomas), Neil (Blake Harrison) and Jay (James Buckley) graduating from sixth form and heading off to a lads’ holiday in Malia. But, unlike most films of this premise, this is most certainly not a coming-of-age affair. Throughout their excursion, the group get up to typically cringe-inducing things such as Neil getting up close and personal to a number of older women, Simon having all of his clothes stolen, and Jay getting his shorts ripped down by a child, who he subsequently attacks.
By means of plot, it’s really hard to complain about The Inbetweeners Movie. Admittedly, it’s not layered or three-dimensional by any means, and one could make the argument that there is very little actual plot to speak of, but going into a movie like this, that is to be expected. This is definitely one for the fans and is somewhat jarring for those not in the know about the series, particularly at the beginning: there’s plenty of namedropping and characters that pop up sporadically that those not acquainted with the Channel 4 program may not quite understand some of the beats. But, once the boys get to Malia it really is quite straightforward, so it’s hard to complain. Normally I’d want a little more depth to my plots, but for a show based upon its larger-than-life characters, they are what I really wanted to take priority, which I’m very glad has happened here.
On the note of the characters, they truly shine in The Inbetweeners Movie. Jay, Simon, Will and Neil are some of (in my opinion) the funniest comic creations of the 21st century, mainly down to just how authentic they are. We all have that one mate that makes up 90% of what comes out his mouth, or the one that turns to jelly around girls, so it really is pleasing to see that this authenticity the show was built upon has transferred brilliantly to the medium of cinema, a bold move considering most American audiences may not quite get the point of the show or the basis of its characters. All the performers are sensational, but for me a special mention has to go to Joe Thomas as Simon. There were numerous times throughout the film where I just couldn’t watch due to how downright cringeworthy some of the moments with his character were, particuarly his interactions with Emily Head’s Carly, which is a testament to Thomas’ wonderful performance and the brilliant writing of showrunners Morris and Beesley.
From a purely technical aspect, however, the film can be pretty middling. Ben Palmer’s direction is nothing special but it gets the job done, which yet again I can’t dispute because if this was a sharply-shot film it may well detract from the brilliant comedy unfolding on the screen. However, I have to say that I loved the film’s soundtrack, especially the clever ways in which songs are incorporated to accentuate moments in the film. Those that stand out to me most are the playing of Ke$ha’s Blow when the boys first hit the strip and Yolanda Be Cool’s We No Speak Americano in one of the film’s very best scenes, the dancing parade in the nightclub.
As a huge fan, there really isn’t a whole lot that I dislike about The Inbetweeners Movie. The comedy is just as sharp as ever, and thanks to an increased budget it means that we can see the boys in entirely new – and occasionally even funnier – surroundings. Sure, the plot is a bit thin, there’s nothing technically astounding about it and it is pretty much gibberish if you don’t get the humour, but if you’re a teenager living in Britain or just love a bit of contemporary British comedy, there’s plenty to like about this film.