Wednesday, 24 August 2011

THE INBETWEENERS MOVIE (2011) - 4 STARS

"This summer four boys become men"


Alright benders, it's been a rather exciting summer for film with boy wizards, robots, superheroes, aliens and apes causing havoc but now it is the turn of four holidaying lads from a Channel 4 TV show to produce the biggest craziness this year as the popular Inbetweeners series makes it to the big screen with a bang (or a hard-on as one of them would say)! Most British sitcoms have attempted the transition of small screen to big screen with some disappointing results e.g. Dad's Army, Kevin and Perry; but thankfully the team behind Inbetweeners have created possibly the best TV to film-adapted sitcom in British culture thanks to a humorous plot with many highs and lows for the four deluded but much loved lads who over the past 3 years have made us laugh and cringe at their awkward and ridiculous antics. So sit back 'fwiends' and pack your wellies for this latest film outing which looks likely to be the funniest film of the year....


For those unaware of the successful TV series, it focuses on four lads; spectacle-wearing intellectual Will (Simon Bird), sex-obsessed bull-shitter Jay (James Buckley), dopey but good-natured Neil (Blake Harrison) and unfortunate, love-torn Simon (Joe Thomas) who all get up to various antics when it comes to fun and girls only to get into embarrassing and awkward situations whether it involve throwing a frisbee at a disabled person or punching a fish to death or vomiting in a tent, the list goes on! In the film's plot itself, the lads decide to go on holiday to Malia after finishing school to forget about their recent troubles with Simon depressed over his recent split with long-term conquest Carli (Emily Head whose father Anthony pops up in the film's first scene as Will's dad). Wearing sex-quote t-shirts, the lads arrive in Malia to find themselves staying in an appalling hotel but fortunately there is plenty of booze and women to go round. They soon encounter a quartet of holidaying girls who each link up with the lads (only threw Neil's robotic dancing) and like them, have different personalities with Jay being left with the 'fat' one and Will getting the attractive blonde Allison (Laura Haddock). Simon's love for Carli becomes more clear when she turns up in the same area affecting his own involvement with one of the girls, Lucy (Tamia Kari) who develops feelings for him. In the meantime the lad's troublesome moments catch up with them on holiday with hilarious results including Jay getting owned by a 9-year old boy AND an ants nest, Neil flirting with several ugly women and the lads coming across a rather mean holiday rep who threatens to ruin the fun (though some vile revenge does the trick). A party-boat outing in the final act provides the intrigue of whether the lad's destiny (and potential clunge) awaits them....

The film (just like the show) gives each character their own problems and triumphs as it goes on and as we expect, some very embarrassing moments and cracking one-liners (Dog-God). The credit has to be given to the writers Ian Morris and Damon Beesley who wrote the show as well. This is more then just a spin off from the show, it is a uplifting tale for the four boys with plenty of laughs (Neil's robotic dance scene for example is just hysterical). A common criticism of feature movies developed from sitcoms is that they are only presented like an extended episode of the TV series though given the various sub-plots on the holiday, it would look like a trio of episodes but set in Malia (though actually filmed in Magaluf). This however doesn't diminish the pacing of the film with the scenes in England moving quick such as the (final) appearance of Rudge Park School with Greg Davies making a brief cameo as the disgruntled and arrogant Head of 6th Mr Gilbert. The rest of the cast do a top job with Bird, Buckley, Harrison and Thomas all continuing to contribute their own skills as their characters in what could be their last hurrah together. Buckley just about gets the most credit for some of the situations which Jay gets himself in but there is some subtly in his performance as evident in the fall-out scenes between the lads. The female newcomers including Haddock and Kari do well proving that unlike other female Inbetweeners characters like Carli and Charlotte, they actually don't come across as stuck-up or bitchy but a lot more comforting. It is also nice to see the lad's parents plus Big John and Donovan pop up to add some continuity to the film after their important roles in the popular series.



Like the case with most films this summer, this is yet another film let down by a rather sloppy ending which seems to rush through when the credits come along. Not much is rounded off properly despite the lads getting their happy endings though there are still some sniggering parts to chuckle at in the credits. The most frustrating on-screen relationship in TV history between Simon and Carli drags on and on with little in the way of a rewarding conclusion as we seem to have spent three series waiting for the two to finally get together though clearly that wasn't going to be the case after all which is frustrating especially when you watch the series every once in a while. Plus you get perhaps one of the most pointless and random characters to appear in a couple of scenes who doesn't add anything major to the film's plot. Fortunately there are enough other characters to keep us entertained throughout.

VERDICT: Something tells me that the Inbetweeners isn't quite finished yet, though as hilarious as the film is, the ending leaves a lot to be desired. Other than that, it's about time a sitcom made it to the big screen and made us laugh, this certainly did the job and hopefully the 'fwiends' can experience one last outing to completely round off their story. Later benders!

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