Review: The Inbetweeners-The Inbetweeners Movie (2011)

The Inbetweeners-The Inbetweeners Movie (2011)

Directed by: Ben Palmer | 97 minutes | comedy | Actors: Simon Bird, James Buckley, Blake Harrison, Joe Thomas, Laura Haddock, Emily Head, Tamla Kari, Jessica Knappet, Lydia Rose Bewley, Theo Barklem-Biggs, Emma Louise Cargill, David Chrysanthou, Greg Davies, Katarina Gellin, Anthony Head , Theo James, Eloise Joseph, Cush Jumbo, Henry Lloyd-Hughes, Alex MacQueen, Christopher Miltiadou, David Mumeni, TJ Nelson, Jimmy Roussounis, David Schaal, John Seaward, Andrew Spiers, Belinda Stewart-Wilson

Within the genre of teenage comedy, just as in other sometimes seemingly superficial genres such as the rom-com or the bromance, a clear distinction can be made between the one elaboration of the more or less fixed formula and the other. ‘The Inbetweeners’ is the British counterpart of the typical ‘American Pie’ films from the United States. The series of the same name has already had three successful seasons in England and has also become a modest hit on Dutch television. The series begins when the upper-class and intelligent Will moves from private to public school due to his parents’ divorce and subsequent financial difficulties for his mother. He joins Simon, Jay and Neil, three sluggish teenagers who are at the bottom of the social ladder, but still trying to make the best of their lives in their own way. As an outsider, Will has a sharp eye for their group, and likes to make fun of himself in the posh voice-over that fortunately also made it into the film.

Where the series is mainly set in high school, the film starts as soon as the boys have completed their final exams. All four of them have their own future plans and worries to worry about. Will is ignored by his father, who suddenly turns out to be remarried to a girl not much older than his son; Jay is mainly concerned with exploring all corners of internet porn but is heavily held back by his domineering father. Simon’s heart is broken just after the exam when Carli, his great love, puts an end to their relationship and Neil, well Neil thinks it’s all fine: he works in the supermarket and has a girlfriend who he can sit with all the time. The four decide to go on holiday together – while they still can: two weeks full of unforgettable experiences are up for grabs! In other words, as the humble Jay puts it: “Two weeks of sun, sea, sex, sand, booze, sex, minge, fanny and tits. And booze. And sex.”

It’s no surprise that reality doesn’t turn out so rosy. The fact that the hotel, the women’s hunt, their bronzed bodies and the sexual experiences are all rather disappointing is part of the genre, but also of the life of a teenage boy. They therefore don’t feel sorry for themselves, and thanks to Will’s ever sharp commentary, the viewer doesn’t have to either. The first half of the film is particularly entertaining, with a legendary dance scene at the very beginning as the highlight. Unfortunately, in the second half, the film increasingly systematically follows the formula rules of this type of film. The credibility that is so important in the series is completely missing by the end of the denouement. The female characters, who start out witty and independent, all develop into pathetic types, who have everything to swallow (literally and figuratively unfortunately) and push the button to be rescued by one of their male counterparts. The obligatory craziness at the end unfortunately cannot save the second half of the film; a good idea to turn this film off after roughly an hour and enjoy the witty first half.

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