Things have changed since the first Inbetweeners movie.
It’s monumental success sparked a number of ‘Britcoms’ to make the leap to the big screen – an effect we’re still reeling from three years later ('Mrs Brown’s Boys D'Movie' and 'Keith Lemon: The Film', to name a few) – the four lead actors haven’t been at school for over a decade and I’ve written 129 reviews.
But have Damon Beesley and Iain Morris (writers . . . and directors, this time round) done enough to adapt to this new cinematic, and cultural, climate?
Well, they’ve tried; we can give them that. They have a remarkably assured handle on the camera and draw some really wonderful images out of the Australian outback. In that regard, it’s a really beautifully shot movie and far more cinematic than the first, which is commendable.
They also explore some really wacky ideas and gleefully let loose in some scenes. The whole thing opens with an impressively mounted fantasy sequence, which is totally unnecessary but fun, and the now infamous water slide scene ends in style. These scenes buzz with a cineliteracy as-yet-unseen in the Inbetweeners back-catalogue, and it really earns the movie a place on the big screen.
That isn’t to say this installment has veered too far off the well-trodden track of the show. Suffice to say, this is very much still the Inbetweeners we all know and love. Even the movie-trickery does little to diminish the fact that the show’s life-blood was always the grotesque rapport between the leads.
And, fret not, it’s still there . . . just maybe not quite on the same level as previous efforts. This time round, there’s more time left for occasionally cheesy moments of reflection. It’s all well and good giving these guys a soul, but that’s not what we’re here to see. The desert scenes in the third act don’t really work in the end, and that’s a shame (because they do go on a bit). But the show always was a tad hit-and-miss, it’s just 22-minutes provided a safety blanket that 96-minutes doesn’t afford.
But, even with a lot more dead air to fill, the movie doesn’t simply collapse in on itself. Even though there isn’t a lot going on plot-wise, the boys pretty much sustain the movie on their own, which is pretty remarkable.
It does help that the four leads are on top form and deliver a set of really great performances. They’ve come a long way from the virtual unknowns of season one and have developed into really impressive performers (in these roles, at least). Blake Harrison, as Neil, is especially delightful.
There’s a lot of great stuff in here. The representation of middle-class gap-year students is spot-on and the whole thing delivers a kind of relatability ‘American Pie’ never offered us Brits. And it’s also funny, like really funny . . . occasionally.
In truth, it’s a pretty trivial exercise giving an Inbetweeners movie a score. The best way may just a single thumbs up, thumbs down; thumbs up and the (millions of) fans will like it, thumbs down and they won’t.
Thumbs up (a.k.a. ★★★ . . . ish)