During their time in Sixth Form College, four teenagers, Will, Simon, Jay and Neil aren't the cool kids. Not by a long shot. But they aren't the nerds either. They're The Inbetweeners, wannabe-popular kids always trying to find that one aspect that will label them as 'cool' and set them for life. Much like the four semi-adults, The Inbetweeners Movie isn't really a movie. Not by a long shot. But it makes bigger steps than its television origins. So has it joined the ranks of successful adaptations such as Serenity or South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut? Or is it simply a uninteresting 90 minute-long episode like The Simpsons/Family Guy movies?
The Inbetweeners Movie starts with the foursome finishing school and deciding to travel to Malia, Crete for a 'lad's holiday' and so Simon can get over his break-up with love-of-his-life Carli. Whilst there, they meet and try their luck with a quartet of girls, have to deal with narcissistic and obnoxious club reps as well as struggles within their own tight-knit group.
Firstly I must apologise if there are any American readers of this review. The Inbetweeners Movie was released in the UK on 17 August, and will not be released in the USA until 25 November, so this won't really be appropriate to read until you're getting your starting to reach for the scarf rather than your sandals. Therefore we got to see the attractive, sunny beaches of Malia during our almost-Summertime, but for the Americans, they will see four young English lads enjoy radiant Crete whilst they shiver in their mittens. I predict that the film may not do so well over the pond, with America not really being that acquainted with the original Channel Four television series. However, this could turn out to be another Shaun of the Dead, a film that the Yanks inexplicably lean towards and embrace. Meanwhile, here in the UK, The Inbetweeners Movie became the most successful British comedy of all time in merely its first week's release, and I can't say it's a shock.
I believe that I laughed at The Inbetweeners Movie more frequently than I did at Horrible Bosses, Bridesmaids, The Hangover Part 2 and any other comedy released this Summer. The writers have managed to capture the debauchery, lost innocence, and wild-eyed enthusiasm that these characters would have on a lad's holiday. The characters transfer to the film smoothly, with their adventures gladly fitting the television series' style.
However, since the film's tag-line is "This Summer, Four Boys Become Men", you'd expect some growth in the characters, and only two of the characters really change for the better, the other two just stay the same as they are. Potential personality improvements or maturity are teased briefly but quickly sidelined by more jokes about sex and certain character's mothers. Personally I would have preferred to see each of the four main characters have their own journey to experience, but they have slightly left the Inbetweeners story open for further instalments so there may be more to come. If the film is the end of The Inbetweeners, then I feel it is a rather fitting way for them to go. A few open plot-lines here and there allow the audience to make up their own story-lines and due to intelligent writing, the characters manage to charm you through their vulgarity and camaraderie.
This film has been compared to the letdown that was Kevin and Perry Go Large or called the "British Pie" of comedy, whereas I believe that it stands as both a fantastic instalment into the Inbetweeners story, as well as a fun, enjoyable, laugh-out-loud comedy about adolescent boys finding their feet in foreign land. It's much better than anything else that's being offered at the moment, that's for sure.
Rating - 8/10