by Dayo Laniyan
Directors: Damon Beesley, Iain Morris
Starring: Simon Bird, James Buckley, Blake Harrison, Joe Thomas
Running time: 96 minutes
Crude, Awkward and Pathetic-in other words, brilliant!
The Inbetweeners first started its existence as a sitcom on the channel E4, airing three seasons from 2008 to 2010. It follows the adventures of four teenage boys: going to a school in Bristol, bonding as friends on the grounds that they were at the bottom of the school’s social ladder.
The series was widely acclaimed and loved by many, earning the Best Sitcom and Outstanding Contribution to British Comedy at the British Comedy Awards. In 2011, The Inbetweeners Movie was released, and did so well that it set the record for the best opening weekend for a comedy film in the UK, earning £13.22m. Now that record has been broken by none other than its own sequel, The Inbetweeners 2, ending its first week with a gross of £12.5m, the largest opening week of any film in 2014.
So the question is, “Does the film really deserve all of that money?” Well, let’s put it this way: The film is sad, cringeworthy and even vulgar. And that is exactly how it should be.
The plot is that Jay, the most sexually obsessed but the least sexually experienced, has moved to Australia and is apparently living in a mansion, waking up to oral sex every day. His three friends, the witty but uncool Will, the so-called romantic Simon and dim-witted Neil, either tired of university life or escaping from psychotic girlfriends, travel there to partake of Jay’s prosperity. Unsurprisingly they realise that Jay has been telling a few white lies, and they proceed to embarrass themselves in new, spectacular ways throughout a new country…
The strongest point to the film has, and always will be the characters: just how badly these four bumbling idiots can stumble into situations and make disasters out of almost everything is just cringing enough to be hilarious, but not so bad that you must look away. But it is also the relationship they share, that despite their glaring flaws they can get on so well together, and even just accomplish something.
It is so effective, perhaps because deep down, its audience which would mostly consist of teenagers and young adults can identify with their problems and their bumbling. There are those who would have not been the coolest or the best looking in school, and may have been bullied or manipulated by others. All you would have had were your friends, and they would have probably been as low on the social ladder as you were. Watching them bumble about can be hard to watch, but we still root for them, because we know we went through the same thing and want them to come out with something.
The humour is constant, and even though there are serious scenes, the humour is never turned off, just toned down to the right measure to let the audience themselves catch on that this is a genuine moment, adding a lot of sincerity to the scenes.
Looking at the movie, you can tell that the original TV directors enjoyed using the larger budget, adding special effects and exaggerated sequences, such as the Harry Potter-esque opening, and the visual interpretation of Jay’s letter. It adds a lot to the comedy skits and proves that those behind the film are just as comfortable working in a different visual medium.
However, one major criticism is that the humour can at times be just too crude and vulgar. It has already been established that Will’s high opinion of himself can put him in embarrassing situations; there is no need for him to get literal poop in his face in front of everyone. There is a fine line between genuine cringe comedy and just being disgusting, and The Inbetweeners 2 does tread that line very, very dangerously.
My rating for The Inbetweeners 2 is 4 out of 5. Incredibly funny and even gripping at times, but if you have a less than indifferent opinion of lad culture, you will loathe this film.
Personally, I don’t think they could have given the whole Inbetweeners franchise a more splendid send-off.