Small town knob jockeys fail the grade as big screen idols

The Inbetweeners was a popular British sitcom that ran from 2008-2010 and traced the relentless efforts of four sixth form boy-men to get themselves “knee deep in clunge”. The problem with The Inbetweeners Movie? It’s not really a movie. Hardly surprising since the creative team remains largely the same as the show, with director Ben Palmer making his feature film debut here. Early on he tries to sell this as a cinematic outing by means of one unbroken virtuoso shot, that moves throughout the boys’ suburban neighbourhood and ends up in Jay’s (Buckley) masturbatory cesspit of a bedroom. It’s impressive but difficult to pin-point anything in what follows that sets this aside from its small screen origins.

When Jay receives an inheritance from his recently deceased grandad he hatches the plan to take his three best mates to Malia, Crete on ‘Pussay Patrol’. Recent dumpee Simon (Thomas) is on the rebound from his ex, Carly, consequently thinking he can see her everywhere, Neil (Harrison) is loved up, and Will’s (Bird) travel itinerary is full of archeological dig sites. The boys soon impress themselves on four equally hapless girls and spend much of the film failing to woo them, then falling out with each other, before becoming friends again. Then Carly actually does show up …    

The series would often resemble Sex & The City, albeit tailored to appeal to a younger, male-orientated demographic; both series have sex and friendship as their focus and concentrate on the dynamic between four friends. The Inbetweeners was more of a sitcom and less of a ‘dramedy’, but the two shows are close in format.

The resemblance is most obvious when you compare the protagonists (Will McKenzie and Carrie Bradshaw) who provide the shows’ moral compass, often bookending episodes with a voiceover that distills current events into insightful, lyrical sound bites.

The Inbetweeners’ transition to the big screen also employs a similar strategy to Sex & The City 2 (and incidentally, the regrettable Kevin & Perry Go Large) by supplanting a familiar environment with a more exotic locale, thereby creating an instant ‘fish out of water’ scenario.

As with many TV to film transitions the tendency can be to adopt a more benign approach to its previous incarnation so as not to alienate newcomers nor attract overly restrictive age certification. Being a film clearly aimed at pre-existing fans, The Inbetweeners Movie thankfully retains much of its signature crudity but it does lose something by attempting to give us more.
The four leads remain perfectly at home in their roles and fans will soon find themselves smiling at the familiarity of their shenanigans. While the writing plays well to each of their comedic strengths, it prompts far more smiles than it does outright laughs.

The plot is rather uninspired and, as the running time proceeds, events become more and more predictable. The problem perhaps lies in the plot’s over reliance on coincidental happenings. Chance encounters are easier to swallow when the setting is a house party or even a school, but when applied to an entire resort town, such chances are considerably slimmer.

This stretching of credibility extends throughout the film (Will gets a knockout love interest, whose attraction to him is particularly difficult to fathom) and is perhaps the film’s greatest flaw, namely because the series was admirably built on embarrassing truths elevated to painful hilarity.

As such, while the movie pales in comparison to the show’s better episodes, and the formula struggles to fill the longer format, it will no doubt succeed in satisfying fans of the show.

The Inbetweeners Movie (15)

Dir: Ben Palmer; UK com, 2011, 93 mins; Simon Bird, James Buckley, Blake Harrison, Joe Thomas

Premiered January 6, playing nationwide

  • How internationals can benefit from joining trade unions

    How internationals can benefit from joining trade unions

    Being part of a trade union is a long-established norm for Danes. But many internationals do not join unions – instead enduring workers’ rights violations. Find out how joining a union could benefit you, and how to go about it.

  • Internationals in Denmark rarely join a trade union

    Internationals in Denmark rarely join a trade union

    Internationals are overrepresented in the lowest-paid fields of agriculture, transport, cleaning, hotels and restaurants, and construction – industries that classically lack collective agreements. A new analysis from the Workers’ Union’s Business Council suggests that internationals rarely join trade unions – but if they did, it would generate better industry standards.

  • Novo Nordisk overtakes LEGO as the most desirable future workplace amongst university students

    Novo Nordisk overtakes LEGO as the most desirable future workplace amongst university students

    The numbers are especially striking amongst the 3,477 business and economics students polled, of whom 31 percent elected Novo Nordisk as their favorite, compared with 20 percent last year.