Movies that follow tv shows should be limited to one. No sequels or franchises being born out of the show that inspired it, just one single movie that “checks-in” with the characters and shows us where their lives are now and how their story developed or even ended. Once you introduce sequels, you then have to take the characters you comfortably settled and whose stories you ended in a satisfying way, and then try to find excuses for them to do something new and entertaining.
One film is usually enough to satisfy the craving and give characters closure. A sequel always feels like a weaker, more desperate attempt to try to repeat the same formula or hope lightning strikes twice. The Inbetweeners suffer from the same issues.
It starts very promisingly. Three of the characters, Simon, Will and Neil, find themselves in a usually embarrassing situation and the characters new positions and their current life situation is established quickly and effectively, to funny effect. This is added to with the best part of the movie, a glimpse into the imagination of Jay, as he explains (lies) about what his life is like in Australia. Cue the excuse to transfer them all to Australia and the main crux of the story is over with.
That isn’t really an issue either. The Inbetweeners isn’t about the story as much as the characters. It is all about the chemistry between the four characters and when they share scenes, exclusively as a four, the film is great. The dialogue is as cringy but accurate as always, the “banter” between them is charming and funny and the magic of the tv show is apparent. The issues arise when they try to place them in situations or any kind of story.
The first film worked because the situations weren’t huge or overly crazy. They didn’t feel catastrophic or so bad there was no going back. They were small, realistic and ultimately, very funny. The sequel falls into the trap of trying to be bigger, or at least “more gross.” A whole sequence involving a water slide feels overdone and too staged considering the excellent situations the characters have found themselves in before.
The other issues with the situations that the four characters find themselves in is that they just aren’t that funny. The film is ok, but it never really raises much more than an appreciative smile. The tv show and the first film were absolutely hysterical in places, this one never really is.
The audience was clambering for a sequel but this movie is a sign that the shows creators and now this movie’s directors, Damon Beesley and Iain Morris, didn’t really know where to go or what to do. It is apparent most when the lads go to the Outback and the film suddenly shifts down a gear further and feels much more like it is padding, trying to get to some sort of ending.
Overall, The Inbetweeners success is in the four main characters and when they are left to talk, interact and just have “banter,” the film works best. Unfortunately, there has to be some sort of story and that is the main issue with the movie, it just isn’t very funny, or as clever, as the previous movie or the tv show that inspired it.
Rating – 2.5
(1 – Awful, 2 – Average, 3 – Good, 4 – Great, 5! – Must See)