Being a 16 year old in England I am of course a fan of The Inbetweeners, the great characters and the cringeworthy scenes give it the realistic feel that those events really did happen to a group of friends like that. That being said, I initially had some misgivings over this film, it’s very rare that feature length adaptations of comedy TV shows work but when they do, they can become comedic classics, see Borat, In The Loop and The Simpsons Movie. Thankfully, The Inbetweeners Movie is a very good film, well fitting as a finale to the story of these characters.
The story of The Inbetweeners Movie follows the conventional idea of adapting a TV comedy to the big screen, send the characters to another country to do their act in a place not used to those antics. Except this does something different, the main characters, Will, Jay, Neil and Simon, are sent to Malia, Crete, a well known part of Greece for partying and people getting drunk. The comedy from this choice comes not from seeing their antics in an area not used to them, it’s seeing the characters completely overwhelmed by the insanity of it all, as if the area is so used to antics like theirs that they just become part of the scenery reacting to the sheer insanity of Malia like any inexperienced person would, shown most clearly in a scene when Jay and Neil go into a club and are disgusted by what they see which I will not spoil.
The acting in the film is also a lot of fun but weirdly, the funniest performances don’t come from the 4 main actors. Anthony Head as Will’s Dad and Greg Davies as Mr Gilbert give the funniest performances in the film, able to steal scenes from right under the other actors with little to no effort. The highlight of this comes in the form of Mr Gilbert’s end of term speech in which he openly insults everyone and you still laugh, despite his cruelty and the fact that you know you should hate Gilbert yet you still like him because of his dialogue. The casting of Anthony Head also provides a bit of fourth wall breaking for fans of The Inbetweeners as Anthony Head is the father of Emily Head, the actress who plays Carli. Besides that, Head has a fantastic scene at the start of the film with his chemistry with Simon Bird being fantastic in how much he hates his son, with a great payoff during the credits. Speaking of stuff in the credits, there is a really funny little scene with Davies during the credits which, in my eyes, is second only to the fish scene in series 2 in being the scene that defines The Inbetweeners.
There are of course problems with the film, mostly related to the fact that in order to get a lot of the jokes, you need to be familiar with the TV series. This is the trap that you need to carefully avoid if your film is going to get a great reception outside of its home country, with Borat and In The Loop very carefully avoiding this trap, becoming comedy classics because anyone can watch them. In the case of The Inbetweeners, in order to fully understand the sub-plot about Carli and Mr Gilbert’s speech you need to have seen all previous episodes of The Inbetweeners. There’s also one character in the film which I didn’t get at all, Richard. I didn’t understand why he was included. I think that if your familiar with the club scene then you will get this character more but for the most part I found him so annoying and any scenes with him in dragged the film to a screeching halt. Plus, like any comedy, some jokes don’t work as well as others, I’ll let you be the judge on which jokes work and which don’t for yourself.
This is a very hard film to review (in fact I saw the film over a month ago and I’ve only just finished this review) because of the type of film it is. I can only say that you should see it in order to decide about the film for yourself as if I tell you the jokes, the film loses its humour. Still, in my opinion, The Inbetweeners Movie is still a really funny coming of age film and I recommend that you see it if you can.
My Rating: 4/5
P.S. My condensed version of this review has been read out on my favourite film review show, Kermode and Mayo’s Film Review on September 2nd 2011.