Dir. Ben Palmer. UK, 2011. 96mins.
No compromises for Iain Morris and Damon Beesley, co-creators of British cult TV smash The Inbetweeners, as they take their four endearingly useless, sex-obsessed teenagers on a road trip to the big screen. The smut is sky-high, although the clunge count stands at a solo mention.
A sequel seems improbable: but this could be quite the multiplex ejaculation while it lasts.
Without a doubt, Will (Simon Bird), Simon (Thomas), Jay (Buckley) and Neil (Harrison) are every bit as funny – and scatological - as they were in the three-series E4 hit, which sold to 20 international territories. While The Inbetweeners Movie may feel like more of an expensive (£3.5m) Christmas special in search of a plot than a film per se, the fans should be in a forgiving mood throughout some third-act drag. The question remains, however: will it play outside the loyal base? Or is this Kevin and Perry Redux?
Opening in the UK at the tail end of the summer opposite Cowboys & Aliens, The Inbetweeners Movie is pretty much guaranteed to pull in its demographic until school starts up again, giving exhibitors a late-season spike. Outside the UK where it has sold well for IM Global, it’s less of a sure bet, with its scrappily juvenile British humour and turd-gag-focus not particularly reinforced by a bigger arc to grasp onto as the boys fly off to Malia in Greece in search of sun and shagging.
The Inbetweeners’ filthy ethos is palatable because it’s voiced by loser teenage boys: it is Britain’s delayed riposte to American Pie. With the TV series at an end, they start the film by graduating at last from the Sixth Form at Rudge Park Comprehensive - just in time, as none of the actors are entirely believable as 18-year-olds any more. Part-financed by the death of Jay’s grandfather, they head off to Malia in Greece (out-of-season Mallorca substitutes) in part for hopeless romantic Simon to get over a breakup with longtime love Carly (Head).
Wearing T-shirts advertising themselves as part of a “Pussay Patrol” and weighed down by supplies of Lynx, they arrive at a predictably dilapidated hotel before, “looking like the worlds’s shittest boy band”, they hit the town in slow-mo, encountering such wonders as “Fernando, master of the art of self-fellatio” and meeting up with four startlingly self-tanned girls who seem oddly game to take these losers on.
As the summer road trip plot moves towards it inevitable conclusion, enlivened greatly by some granny-shagging, projectile vomiting, pooing in the bidet (naturally) and general all-round loser behaviour, it becomes clear that Will, Simon, Jay and Neil are funnier when they’re in no danger of ever losing their virginity. As that prospect is dangled closer, the viewer retreats and The Inbetweeners veer towards – gasp! - coming of age. In that respect, a sequel seems improbable: but this could be quite the multiplex ejaculation while it lasts.
Technically, The Inbetweeners Movie can’t quite shake off its TV roots and plot-wise, this is nothing the Greek tourist board would want to advertise (or Mallorca, for that matter). Acting credits are strong across the main four protagonists, and while the writing is episodic, moving The Inbetweeners from set-up to set-up, it is also much punchier and more sustained than a typical TV-transfer.
Production companies: Film 4, Young Bwark
UKdistribution: Entertainment Film Distributors
International sales: IM Global, email@example.com
Screenplay: Iain Morris, Damon Beesley
Producer: Christopher Young
Executive producers: Iain Morris, Damon Beesley, Caroline Leddy, Shane Allen
Cinematography: Ben Wheeler
Production design: Dick Lunn
Editor: William Webb
Music: Mike Skinner
Main cast: Simon Bird, James Buckley, Blake Harrison, Joe Thomas, Emily Head, Anthony Head