The Inbetweeners Movie review

Screenwriters are often told to “write what you know”, and having attended the same school as one of The Inbetweeners writers and spent my GCSE Physics classes terrorising the meek teacher by relentlessly placing cut-out paper cocks on the overhead projector, I’ve always felt there’s an authenticity to the immature adventures of these four naive lads that you don’t get in something like Kevin & Perry Go Large. That film felt like the product of middle aged men writing precisely what they didn’t know.

That authenticity and honesty extends to the boys’ first big screen outing, as witty nerd Will (Bird), potty-mouthed bullshitter Jay (Buckley), nice but soppy Simon (Thomas) and loveably dim-witted Neil (Harrison) are led by their dicks from English suburbia to the Greek holiday resort of Malia for a lads holiday, with high hopes of getting laid; as one of them puts it: “It’ll be like shooting clunge in a barrel”. It all starts to go off the rails when they arrive at their dilapidated hotel, and Simon bumps into Carli (Head), the love of his life who just dumped him, and who he came on holiday to forget. But things start to look up when they meet four like-minded girls (well played by Bewley, Haddock, Knappet and Kari and unusually well written for a film like this) in an empty nightclub.

What follows is the expected procession of embarrassing set pieces involving cringe-inducing attempts to chat up girls, falling asleep in ants’ nests, shagging elderly women (leading to my favourite line, “spunk on me bastard tits!”, I know that sounds terrible out of context but trust me) and a club dancer who’s also the master of self-fellatio, not to mention the generous, perhaps too generous, helping of vomit and poo jokes. You probably don’t need me to tell you whether or not this is your cup of tea (or fishbowl of sangria), but what you might not be expecting is just how sweet-natured it all is. Like the best American teen comedies such as American Pie or Superbad, there’s a strong underlying sense that these friends love each other as much as they love the “pussay”.

There’s also an enjoyable British edginess to the laughs: a mainstream US film might put their leads in four pink “Pussay patrol” T shirts, but would it have the balls to have “Mr. I Fuck Kids” emblazoned across the back of one of them? Credit must also go to the filmmakers for resisting the urge to give the foursome too many uplifting, crowd pleasing moments and for staying true to the characters’ weaknesses: when the resort bully  continuously insults the girl Jay has warmed to about her weight, you may be hoping for a George McFly style, slowly curled fist and a knock-out punch, but it never comes: Jay remains silent, unable to stand up to him (though he does find a way to get revenge in one of the film’s trademark gross-out moments).

But my god would you listen to me drone on, you probably feel like self harming: IS THE FILM FUNNY? Yes. I mean, your mileage may vary, it’s hit and miss, but yes. Much of the humour comes organically from the characters (brilliantly played by the four leads, gifted comic actors all) rather than overtly scripted “jokes”. For example, when Simon applies sun cream to Will’s back, does he write/draw something witty? No, he draws a cock. A big, spunking cock. And I personally guarantee you will be reduced to tears of laughter by Neil’s attempt to impress girls via the medium of dance.

You could also look at it this way: The Hangover 2 cost $80 million to make (80 FUCKING MILLION), the cast and crew had a lovely holiday in Thailand and they came back with approximately 3 laughs. According to my research The Inbetweeners Movie cost £39.99 and a multipack of pickled onion Monster Munch to make, and to be fair, it shows: the film is as rough round the edges and occasionally awkward as its characters. But to sum up in a slightly immature fashion (and if there’s a place for immaturity it’s probably here): it’s a fuck sight funnier than The Hangover 2. Put that on the poster.

The Inbetweeners Movie at IMDb

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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