UK Release: August 6th 2014
After the runaway success of its first film on the UK box office, back in August 2011, with its taking of £41.8 million, it was only inevitable that the characters from the hit (and still repeated) E4 TV show return, in the Film 4 backed ‘INBETWEENERS 2’. Directed by the creators and writers of the series this time of Damon Beesley and Iain Morris, instead of the series and first film director Ben Palmer (who’s making ‘Man Up’ with Simon Pegg and Lake Bell, due for a release next year), this film finds Will (Simon Bird), Neil (Blake Harrison) and Simon (Joe Thomas) go off during a summer period to go see Jay (James Buckley) who is taking a gap year out in Australia. Of course everything is not what it seems and hilarity ensues.
The thing with ‘Inbetweeners 2’ is when I was walking into this picture I wasn’t too bothered by it. I couldn’t help but think this was a cash-in from the first film, that and also kept thinking that perhaps the actors playing these characters are getting a little too old (two of the four have children). I am also a firm believer that sometimes, in regards to comedy, it is better to quite while you ahead, and while I admit its better then expecting ‘Inbetweeners 2’ when comes to a close you do think perhaps this very much the case. One of the biggest surprises of this sequel is how everything in proportion to the first film has got bigger. In this film you basically have a lot of product placement for the first time from Virgin Atlantic and Heiniken and also just a massive travel advert for Australia for gap year students. Now I get it has been successful, and I get why product placement has been inserted into this, but considering where it comes from I found it particularly jarring, not so much to take away from the film, but it didn’t feel like ‘’proper’’ ‘Inbetweeners’.
Another strange omission is also the humour itself. The TV series and first film was able to successfully marry both the gross out gags as well as the whole suttle humour of them bonding as friends and as people. However (while not totally taken away), this element is certainly played down, instead we have more gross-out gags, which are funny, but sometimes I just want them to slow down and bond. This is something which brought a level of maturity to something built on immature principles, and arguably the reason for the shows acclaimed brilliance. There is one good gross-out gag though revolving around a water slide which you can’t miss, if yet very ‘Kevin and Perry Go Large’. The biggest problem for fans of the TV show (which I am part off), is the fact as the gross-out gags get more silly, the characters seem to get less identifiable, there is also rather a strange misogamist towards women as well, but this isn’t as the big problem for the fans. It is more the fact that the film doesn’t seem to amount to anything, and considering people have gone through all three seasons and now two films, you do think that the way the ended the film doesn’t really bring any sense of closure which I think we all want. However there is argument to make that, while not following the tone, or flow of the TV program and the first movie, at least this adaptation can play to broader audiences of ‘Animal House’ party genre.
In conclusion while its better then what I was expecting, and yes I did laugh (more at Blake Harrison’s dim-wit, wannabe Dolphin trainer: Neil and Emily Berrington’s character), the film feels undeserving of the first film and of its no doubt success. A Christmas special would have certified and more so a watch on TV then at your local multiplex.