Adapting successful British TV shows for the big screen is always fraught with danger. In fact, few rarely survive the transition. For prime examples just look at Ali G Indahouse, Kevin & Perry Go Large and Mr Bean’s Holiday. Or don’t. Even when we try to cram our small screen stars into a different vehicle for their talents we can end up with something like the dire Blackball or the so-so Magicians. But we’ve also had Shaun Of The Dead and Hot Fuzz (coming from the team who gave us Spaced), In The Loop (stemming from the superb In The Thick Of It) and the fun of The Parole Officer in the last ten years so it’s not all bad.
The Inbetweeners Movie isn’t terrible but it’s not a great movie either. It’s a decent closing chapter for fans of the, often hilarious, TV show. The fact that it never feels like more than an extended episode of the show is both a plus and a minus. The plus is that it often keeps the same tone and level of gags, the minus is that there’s no reason to rush to your local cinema to see this.
The movie starts with the assumption that you already know the characters, and this review will start off on the same footing. Will (Simon Bird), Jay (James Buckley), Simon (Joe Thomas) and Neil (Blake Harrison) are off on a holiday that they hope will include sex, sun, booze, sex, sand, more booze, sex and . . . . . . . sex. The only thing working against them is . . . . . . . . . . their collection of personality defects. Will is far too logical and smart for his own good, while uncomfortable around people. Jay is all talk and no action. Simon is down in the dumps after losing the girl he loves. And Neil is just Neil, he gets through life happy and carefree and doesn’t think about anything too much, which makes him the best person to take on a holiday that you want full of happy and carefree fun. Amazingly, the guys meet up with some girls that actually find them good company but things can always quickly go from good to bad to worse where this lot are concerned.
With all of the actors involved completely at ease with the characters they portray and director Ben Palmer and writers Iain Morris and Damon Beesley don’t make any major changes so it’s no surprise to find that what’s on display here is decent enough. But it’s not great. There are moments of greatness here and there (if you don’t laugh loud and hard during the club dancing sequence then I worry about you) but the film ultimately can’t maintain that height of consistent hilarity and instead reverts back to the standard mix of crudity, dry witticisms and awkwardness that the show does so well. The great shame about that, on the big screen, is that it feels like a cop out.
Things dip after a great opening sequence that allows Greg Davies (as weary teacher, Mr Gilbert) to almost steal the entire movie with a speech/rant that is nothing less than comedy gold but they never hit the lows of other UK films thanks to the use of the characters, an ant nest, alcohol, childish pranks, those dance moves and a feeling that everything is being resolved in a way that will leave fans happy and satisfied (unlike the girls being actively pursued by the lads *snigger, snigger* . . . . . . . . . sorry, I guess the film rubbed off on me more than I thought).
The DVD of The Inbetweeners Movie will soon be available to buy. You can pre-order your copy now from Tesco Entertainment.
DIRECTOR: BEN PALMER
STARS: SIMON BIRD, JAMES BUCKLEY, BLAKE HARRISON, JOE THOMAS, LAURA HADDOCK, EMILY HEAD, TAMLA KARI, LYDIA ROSE BEWLEY, JESSICA KNAPPET
RUNTIME: 97 MINS APPROX