Written and directed by Damon Beesley and Iain Morris (who were writers of the original TV series and the first movie) The Inbetweeners 2 reunites UK’s favourite lads; Jay (James Buckley), Neil (Blake Harrison), Will (Simon Bird) and Simon (Joe Thomas) for more laughs, more embarrassment and more awkward moments.
After receiving an email from Jay, who is enjoying his Gap year in Australia (finding fame, riches and a different fit bird to have sex with every day) leads Neil, Will and Simon to hop on a plane to join him, leaving their miserable situations behind. However, the reality is very different. Jay is living in a tent and is very much alone. So they decide to drive up to Byron Bay and then trek out into the outback, seeking sex and fun in the Australian sun.
The Inbetweeners 2 is immature, gross and long-time fans will no doubt love it. While a lot of the dialogue does lean heavily to the cheap and easy side (sometimes falls a bit flat) the writers are quite good at setting up and delivering an epic joke and when it works, it really works. You will be laughing hard or squirming in your seat covering your eyes. Highlights will include the water park scene, a rape whistle mishap and a very thirsty outback scene (that answers the question of how far a friendship will go for liquid). Stay in your seat to watch a very funny wrap up in the credits where the boys continue their travels to Asia. It embodies what makes the foursome’s friendship so appealing and definitely worth staying for.
While I was watching the movie I couldn’t help but make comparisons to its predecessor. The first film was a natural next step, easily transitioning from the television series to feature length (and really just felt like three or four episodes I would watch back to back). The awkward moments of those first experiences of travel, freedom and experimenting had an essence of innocence (that makes it all a bit more painful to see them not quite get it right). I think the part of the fun lies in the playful banter, teasing and ball smacking moments of the four friends going through these life milestones together.
Unfortunately this time around, the film didn’t feel as fresh. Although they are facing the challenges of life after high school, the fans of the show have probably grown up, sadly the characters haven’t. I think the success of the TV series and the even bigger the success of first The Inbetweeners lies in the fact the boys were in that awkward part of life, not young but not quite grown up and all the situations were relatable. Now that they have had some experiences under their belt, I had hoped they would be wiser and we would have a new reason to laugh. Although Jay and his quivering lip (over his ex-girlfriend) keeps the element of innocence that works, the other three characters are kept stagnant. Why, after all of his relationship experience, is Simon’s unable to break up with his psychopath girlfriend? Why is Will so infatuated with hanging out with these mean backpackers and then there’s poor Neil, who has been dumbed down to the point that he was almost non-existent. I guess the thrill of fitting in is a main point of Will’s story line and fans of his character and his persnickety ways will appreciate the moment where he tells off the pretentious, spoilt, friendship-bracelet-wearing cool kids, finally realising that his friends are better company (and much better people).
Maybe I’m putting an unnecessary amount of thought into this movie (and really you don’t any amount of brain power to enjoy it) but there was this unnaturalness that I can’t quite place. While the bigger budget gave the film some wonderful opportunities to play out a joke to perfection (again the water park scene) it also took out its charm and sincerity that makes the awkwardness so plausible. While with the series and the first film it was so real and it felt you were laughing along with them, in Inbetweeners 2 the artificial quality took the immersive experience away, and it became just a movie that you were watching.
One thing is for sure; fans of The Inbeweeners will enjoy this film. The gross factor can be fun when it is crafted well, but more importantly it’s an excuse to go on an adventure and bring the foursome back together again, giving the fans exactly what they want. However for me, the film doesn’t quite work as a standalone film. You need to love the characters to love this movie, as it seems the worst parts of the characters have been exaggerated along with the budget and vulgarity. And while I didn’t laugh all the way through this comedy, there were moments of comic gold (yes the water park scene) that really had me laughing.
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