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The Inbetweeners Movie review

Posted : 2 years, 7 months ago on 12 January 2012 10:58

The big screen outing for the unlikely lads from Rudge Park Comprehensive, The Inbetweeners Movie is surprisingly short of laughs but big on heart.

It sees the inept foursome jet off to the worst hotel in Malia, Greece, in the hope of sex, sun, sex, sea, sex, drinking and sex. Of course, nothing goes to plan...

As a fan of the Channel 4 TV show I had high hopes for this film, but also reservations - would the format work for 90mins as opposed to the usual 30? Thankfully the answer is yes. The usual jokes and innuendos are present coupled with smatterings of awkward cringy moments.

However, the fact it's not a total gag fest worked rather well. The longer format gave you a chance to really engage with the characters as well as building on their relationships with each other.
The acting is flawless on the boys' part. They have honed their characters to perfection it's hard to believe that they're not real people. It's almost like watching "friends" on a bizarre home movie.

The only criticism I have is the girls they boys hook up with. In no version of reality would Jay or Simon have those girls chasing after them considering they way they behave. They'd be off like a shot to find someone more appreciative. However, it was nice for the film to have a happy ending in contrast to the TV show, and see the lads off to uni with smiles on their faces.
With the ending left so open will we get an Inbetweeners Movie 2?

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Enjoyable romp with heart and laughs

Posted : 2 years, 8 months ago on 8 December 2011 05:57

"You better bring your wellies, because you'll be knee-deep in clunge."

A television show making the leap to a feature-length film is always a challenging proposition, and it doesn't always work. But fortunately, in the case of The Inbetweeners Movie, the translation from small screen to the big screen is for the most part a smooth one. Puppeteered by veterans of the original series, The Inbetweeners Movie has all the witty laughs and vulgar humour that made the show such a hit in the first place, on top of unforced depth to ensure that it doesn't just feel like a few 25-minute episodes stitched together. Maturity in a vulgar comedy is a feat to be celebrated in itself, but it's even better that it was achieved for the movie adaptation of a beloved TV series. Best of all, while familiarity with the original show is preferred for the movie since you'll have a better sense of what's at stake, it's likely that Inbetweeners virgins will come away equally satisfied with this wholly enjoyable romp beset with heart and laughs.

With their school years finally coming to a close, Will (Bird), Simon (Thomas), Jay (Buckley) and Neil (Harrison) will soon be forced to brave the realms of University and work. However, Simon's girlfriend and long-time crush Carli (Head) breaks up with Simon due to the uncertainty of their impending University years, leaving the lad devastated. To help Simon get over his depression, the boys decide that a holiday is in order, and jet off to Malia in Crete seeking a fortnight of relaxation, booze, girls and (hopefully) sex. Not long after their arrival, the troupe encounter a group of females with whom they strike up a tentative bond. Unfortunately, though, Carli is also in Malia, and Simon is still besotted with his ex.

We've seen tonnes of coming of ages tale before, but it's not often that we see a such a story concerning patiently-developed characters we've come to know and love over several years. While the nature of the film's narrative is generic, the filmmakers at least handled it with sincerity, and it's rewarding to see this foursome at long last growing up after three seasons of pure immaturity. Thus, the arcs (although predictable) feel more earned and emotionally satisfying. Additionally, writers Iain Morris and Damon Beesley had the good sense to not treat the story's female characters as mere eye candy or perfunctory plot pawns; instead, they have depth and feelings, adding mirth and emotional intrigue.

The Inbetweeners TV show continues to be so popular because it displays an astute understanding of the teenage mindset. These qualities, thankfully, are carried over to this feature film, with razor-sharp dialogue and hilarious observations about teen behaviour. Additionally, sending the protagonists to Greece via a cheap holiday package gave the writers new targets for their humour (including flight delays, grungy accommodation, sleazy holidays representatives, nightclub entrance scams, etc) while also allowing the boys do what they do best: drinking alcohol, stripping naked, vomiting, farting, saying the wrong things, and trying their hardest to get girls (but failing hilariously). Nevertheless, The Inbetweeners Movie falls short of perfection. There are copious moments of greatness, but the film does drag at times. The plot feels somewhat bloated (maybe it would've worked better as an hour-long TV special?), which diminishes some of the franchise's trademark punch.

Expectedly, all of the actors involved here seem completely at ease with their characters. Leading the pack is Simon Bird, who perfectly sells the social awkwardness shtick in the role of Will. As was the case with the show, the story is narrated by Bird, and his spot-on delivery coupled with the witty writing makes for several moments of inspired hilarity. On top of this, Bird also shines in the more tender moments (for instance a scene when he nervously watches his local dalliance undress on a beach). The rest of the boys are equally good, genuinely inhabiting their roles and effortlessly alternating between the dramatic and the hilarious. These performers are surprisingly versatile, and their efforts here should serve as a springboard for bigger and better things post-Inbetweeners. Meanwhile, the female ensemble - consisting of Laura Haddock, Emily Head, Tamla Kari, Jessica Knappet and Lydia Rose Bewley - keep up with the boys every step of the way, placing forth strong performances with ideal comic timing. Also of note in the cast is Greg Davies as series regular Mr. Gilbert, who threatens to steal the entire movie with an opening rant that had this humble reviewer in tears of laughter. It's a bit of a shame, then, that Davies disappears from the film immediately following his uproarious tirade...

The thing about The Inbetweeners as a franchise is that the creators wanted to wrap it up while it was still brilliant instead of milking it to exhaustion and risk sacrificing the show's overall integrity. Now that the boys have finished school and seem poised for a bright future, the franchise and these characters can now be safely put to bed. Thus, the conclusion to The Inbetweeners Movie feels weighty and poignant, as the foursome are about to head to University and will most likely start to grow apart. Sure, the ending is a bit sappy, but it feels earned; these boys have been through so many humiliations and failures, so they deserve an optimistic ending.


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Every bit as brilliant as the TV series!

Posted : 2 years, 10 months ago on 21 October 2011 01:00

Immediately after the release of the third series in this gigantically popular British sitcom, there was the announcement of a planned feature film. Although, the excitement for it was huge and was already one of the most anticipating films of 2011, there were perhaps some suspicions and maybe even some desperation from the makers due to the fact that series 3 became a huge popular hit, and therefore wanted to improve on the reputation of it as a whole (hence the idea of a feature film). Considering the fact that both the film and the TV series do suffer a little from repetition, the film is an absolute pleasure to watch and is filled with its shocking and crude jokes and is an all-round wild adventure.

Having said that the film is filled with extremely vulgar and crude jokes (jokes you couldn’t possibly imagine), there are two things that are required for a viewer to get the full enjoyment from this. One, it is perhaps needed to watch all three series’ first so then they can truly understand the nature of the characters and the jokes. And two, depending on the individual, you really need to have the right sense of humour to enjoy it. We have seen many teen films involving similar themes as The Inbetweeners Movie has, but The Inbetweeners as a whole is one on its own and tells its tale by sending out its message about coming of age involving the next step in life from a teenager to an adult. Previously in the series, every single episode ends in either disastrous catastrophes or complex complications, but in the film there are a few slight adjustments and isn’t as predictable as it may look. In fact, it is one of the very rare romantic-comedies (it fits in that genre) that does have its unpredictability concepts in the dialogue.

In many teen films, we have seen a group of characters on a rather desperate mission to achieve something that is hopelessly idiotic (examples: four lads seeking to lose their virginity on a specific date, 3 guys and a girl going across Europe to meet a pen pal etc). However, in the case of the events that occur in the lives of Will, Jay, Neil and Simon that are still hopeless and disastrous but are well-intentioned and really do look like they could make the most of their lives. Plus, despite all four of them are all different personalities and grew up and live in different backgrounds, they are all equally as cool as each other (so not really cool at all). In the series, Simon Bird gave the best performance as Will McKenzie and he reprises the role in the film. Once again, Bird provides the exact definition of a typical geek and a gentleman and gives a performance to remember! Having bought back memories of Seann William Scott as Steve Stifler (American Pie films) and Jacob Pitts as Cooper Harris (EuroTrip), James Buckley gives an absolutely fantastic performance as Jay Cartwright. He expressed a typical sex-obsessed teenager, but as the film progressed, there was a newly revealed side to Jay as he slowly transforms from the boy he once was, to the man he has now become.

Neil Sutherland is my personal favourite of the gang, and he is perhaps the strongest and most extraordinary character out of them. In the series, he is the slowest and the most unintelligent guy. However, in the film, although he still feels like the same Neil in the series, we see a slightly different and new Neil where his true colours are exposed. Blake Harrison gives such a fantastic performance, and he was born for that character. As for the final lad in the gang, Simon Cooper: he is still annoyingly obsessed and is still being strung along by the cold-hearted Carli D’Amato. As annoying as Simon is and is perhaps the biggest loser of the four, he perfectly demonstrates that some young men are well-intentioned in relationships but women aren’t, so that does make him still a good character. Although they’ll still feel like the Inbetweeners, Simon, James, Blake and Joe should stick around and be part of some other major projects in the near future. Emily Head, Greg Davies, Belinda Stewart-Wilson, Alex MacQueen, David Schaal, Martin Trenaman and Robin Weaver reprise their small supporting roles from the series into the film. So, it was good to see them return once more.

New stars Laura Haddock, Tamla Kari, Jessica Knappet and Lydia Rose Bewley are given the honours of portraying Alison (love interest of Will), Lucy (love interest of Simon), Lisa (love interest of Neil) and Jane (love interest of Jay), and they are all just like the four boys who are all almost totally different kinds of people yet they all bond together somehow because they stick together. All of the girls are exactly what all of the boys need in order for them to move on and take the next step in life, especially between Lucy and Simon and Jay and Jane. Although Tamla Kari as Lucy is perhaps the most appealing on the eyes of the four, Laura Haddock delivers the best performance as Alison. A character like Alison proves that although her and Will are perhaps a very strange match due to looks, but they both bond together, share each other’s feelings and understand each other.

On two occasions, we have seen Ben Palmer’s work as director in the second and third series of The Inbetweeners, he makes his return as director of the feature film. Despite already knowing exactly what to expect, he didn’t let slip the reality or the feelings from the original series feel almost the same. As far as the technical side of The Inbetweeners as a whole is that the editing of the film has been impressive and due to the backgrounds settings, it feels like it’s really happening (almost like a documentary on a few occasions). After all three seasons and the feature film, Damon Beesley and Iain Morris really have written some of the finest comedy screenplays in recent memory. Considering that it is filled with perhaps the most vulgar jokes you could possibly imagine and where it does suffer from repetition the most, the humour in both the film and the series isn’t anything like we had seen previously. The most remarkable concept about The Inbetweeners is that although we are aware that it is scripted, of course, but it is so accurately written by expressing the behaviour of British teenagers in general.

Overall, The Inbetweeners Movie is a true summer film that is full of sun, hot babes and hilarious comedy! It is a lesson to teenage comedies and to summer comedies that this is exactly how it’s done and has it all, just like in the TV series. Therefore, it proves itself to be one of the finest achievements in British cinema of this generation, in the comedy genre and a very strong farewell!

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