Tuesday 30 August 2011

Review: The Inbetweeners Movie

Year: 2011
Director: Ben Palmer
Screenplay: Iain Morris, Damon Beesley
Starring:  Simon Bird, James Buckley, Blake Harrison, Joe Thomas

Synopsis is here:

Any readership outside of the U.K will probably shrug their shoulders at this review as I can't see it making waves at their shores. However for us Brits, The inbetweeners is sitting pretty at the top of the U.K box office at time of writing. It's not hard to see why, as the show has been a bit of a revelation for some of the generation here. From an overzealous yell of "BUS WANKERS!" from some twonk in a Nova, to the double thumbs up "friend" comment you get from mates after you suggest your going to see someone else. There's sayings and moments from the shows three seasons that have just got absorbed into our conscious and are likely to stay there as E4 will repeat the show as much as they do Friends, as is the method of channels these days.

The fact that a film of these four failures didn't really surprise me as much as the speed of the turnaround. I swear I only just heard about the film being made about 9 months ago. But then when dealing with a show that's at it's peak of popularity and a cast that can only pretend to be 18 for so long (lead Simon Bird is only a year younger than myself at 26) it's probably the best time to strike.

The Inbetweeners movie is perfect for people who are fans of the show. While it doesn't alienate newcomers with nothing but in jokes, it does display the friendship and closeness built by the main cast members. This and the films writing by the shows creators are what the film what it is; coming off like a English version of porky's but with a familiarly that made the show a hit in the first place.  We like these saps because we all knew versions of them at school. They're harmless and the mean well, but they're so struck dumb by their social awkwardness that it hurts. Yes, they are crude but their lack of knowing any better does get them through. The spiritedness and knowing naivety of of the characters overwhelm the more base elements and while it's clear that the leads are still a little T.V green, the chemistry is there throughout.  It's what makes the inbetweeners what they are; the lack of mean spiritedness that resides in many American counterparts.

It's good that the dialogue and set pieces are also on par with the show as they still have the ability to hit the funny bone, especially if you're a fan. Not only it's needed in a comedy, but it takes away from the fact that the film could have easily been a made for T.V movie and be just as successful. The film is very televisual in design, and save for a couple of moments, it doesn't not feel very cinematic. Moments of sentimentality are often cumbersome, plot strands stand out awkwardly and there were more than one moment in which neither laughter nor sympathy could be displayed as the story struggles to win us over with it's thinly spread narrative.

I will say however that I've laughed harder in this than many of the comedies that have come out recently. This was everything that Hangover 2 was not in my opinion, lacking the spitefulness that features in that film (and Due Date for that matter) but playing up the hype and disappointment of those "lads" holidays, embarrassing parents and the genuine awkwardness of place that came with the show. It'll find it's place on the shelves of fans and to be honest, that's what it was looking for.