Tuesday, 23 August 2011

'The Inbetweeners Movie' Review

'The Inbetweeners Movie' (dir: Ben Palmer, 2011) Cert: 15

TV movies are quite often a double-edged sword; it's often hard to know what you may get. It's easy enough to assume the film's nature because it will be based upon the previous source material but there is always that lingering question of whether a big-screen update of a small-screen show is merely a "cash-in" or not. After it's riotous opening day success, the silver screens across the UK are continuing to be flooded by fans wanting to see their favourite E4 misfits last outing, and no, I'm not talking about the gobby kids with superpowers, I'm talking about the gobby and socially awkward foursome, 'The Inbetweeners'. I've been a huge fan of the show since it first aired, so like so many others, I've eagerly awaited this film...

 After finally finishing sixth form at Rudge Park Comprehensive, Will (Simon Bird), Simon (Joe Thomas), Jay (James Buckley) and Neil (Blake Harrison) are starting their lives as adults. After Carli (Emily Head) cruelly dumps Simon because of university commitments, the boys decide the best remedy for a broken heart is to get anyway from all the normality and go on a 'lads holiday' - of course each member of the group has a different opinion on what the nature of the holiday means. For Will it is supposed to be a cultural experience, but realistically the boys choose Malia in Crete for one reason; carnage. Two weeks of booze, sun, sex and scandal is the plan, but as we all know, nothing is ever that simple with these four.

 It's easy to compare this movie to 'Kevin and Perry Go Large' (2000 - which I love by the way, don't judge); it's British, it's set abroad, and it's fundamentals are set in sex and 'laddish' culture, but the critical difference between these two TV flicks is that audiences love 'The Inbetweeners' because it's brutally honest and frankly heart-warming in a strange and absurdly crude way. Over the three series' of the show, we as viewers have spent quality time with the four boys and have learnt to connect with them on an emotional level as well as a comedic; we care for them as well as enjoy laughing at how bad they are at pretty much anything. Rather than making their big-screen outing a cheap and easy way to make millions, fans of the show are welcomed to the 'labour of love' the show completely deserves - the film feels right and necessary and consequently, it's an absolute hoot.

Still from 'The Inbetweeners Movie' (dir: Ben Palmer, 2011)
 Admittedly, there is not much of a narrative and the film is extremely formulaic (school ends, boys holiday), that's about it structure-wise so to say the film was just a big episode on a bigger screen would not be far from the truth, but fans are not entering the theatre for a gripping narrative, we are coming to have our sides spilt and leave with them in tatters. When a whole cinema is laughing, the mood is utterly infectious and each member cannot help but feel breathless from the monumental amounts of giggles that circles the air - not since 'Superbad' (2007) have I been in a film with that many people enjoying themselves; it's a great feeling and makes the film feel much more like an experience.

 There are numerous scenes that left my side aching from laughter - spoilers will not be found here for those who haven't seen the picture yet, but you are in for a treat. What is also surprising however is how touching the film is; many points are joyous and celebratory but others are also rather sad and sympathetic, particularly some scenes with the girls Jay and Simon meet whilst away. But fear not, the only tears you may shed are due to laughter.

 Concerns with the film's classification lead to certain scepticism between critics and fans - the show has always been classified 18 by the BBFC yet the feature is a 15 but this hasn't stopped writing powerhouse of Iain Morris and Damon Beesley pushing the certificate to it's absolute limit. The film is filled with foul language (including two rather obviously forced uses of the 'C' word), gross-out humour, full frontal nudity and vomit so if you are easily offended, this probably isn't the film for you. If you watch the show, you know the humour so there really isn't anything here that's a great shock to the system.

 As we know from the show, all of the group are great comedic actors and have strong deliveries and these skills are revised and portrayed wonderfully here. Bird is one of the best new comedians working today and I cannot wait for his and Thomas' new show 'Chickens'. Thomas and Buckley are fantastic as ever and as previously mentioned, handle the emotional sequences with great professionalism. Harrison is wonderful too and starts what is quite possibly the best comedy scene of 2011; the dance. As we've seen from the show, Neil's dancing is amazing, but in the film, he, Will and Simon all hit the dance floor and probably have created a move you will most likely see replicated in nightclubs from now on. Will's waddling moves left me gasping - utter brilliance. As well as the boys, the predominant females involved are all strong too with Laura Haddock who plays Alison and Tamla Kari (Lucy) being the stand-outs. Plus it features lovely cameos including Anthony Steward Head as Will's father.

 Comedy has been weak in 2011 but 'The Inbetweeners Movie' could be the redemption - with laugh-a-minute gags, a cracking soundtrack and wholesome and loveable characters, this is the film to beat. We Brits get humour and this film absolutely cements this fact. Considering how well it is performing here in the UK, it's only a matter of time before Film 4 flings it state-side and I hope it competes there too. It deserves success and recognition, and hopefully will be a way of showing Americans that Adam Sandler movies are not funny; this is 'proper' comedy at it's simplest and down right best.

Jaw-achingly hilarious, immensely charming and strangely life-affirming; this is the send-off our favourite lads deserved.

By Chris Haydon

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