It’s usually a risk for popular television programmes to make the jump to the big screen but in 2011, The Inbetweeners made it look easy. Would a sequel have the same outcome or should they have quit while they were ahead? Three years later, but set only a matter of months after the predecessor, the boys are back for another outing. University life hasn’t been all that it was cracked up to be for Will (Simon Bird) and Simon (Joe Thomas), meanwhile Neil (Blake Harrison) is missing the friendly camaraderie, or the ‘epic bantz’ as he would put it. To escape what has become a mundane existence, the three decide to take a trip down under to visit their friend Jay (James Buckley), who is knee-deep in clunge as one of Sydney’s premier DJs…or so he says. With more immature gags than you could shake a knob at, this British comedy brings us more of the same.
As well as the humour, the key to the success of The Inbetweeners is how relatable the four central characters are, despite the cringeworthy situations they regularly find themselves in. Out of school, you would think it’d be a challenge to maintain this but by tapping into the travelling culture, and the snobbery around it, it is an intelligent step forward. Many of us lucky to be in our early-to-mid-twenties will be all too familiar with the pretentious, ‘spiritual’ types who take a gap year to find themselves, only to return and tell us about the amazing vibes that we wouldn’t really understand.
The writers clearly know their target audience and get this satire spot on, down to the last dreadlock. Will’s clashes with backpacker Ben provide highlights as they vie for the attention of Will’s old school friend Lucy. In terms of plot development, a lot is left to be desired as the story moves from one embarrassing set piece to the next, before spending a little longer in the outback than the scene deserved. While there are probably less big laughs than the first film, there are still a lot of chuckles, particularly down to the gormless idiot Neil who enjoys most of the best one-liners.
It’s the norm in teen-comedies for the actors to be older than the characters, and though this is no different, they have kept up a youthfulness to get away with it. All four are around a decade older than their alter-egos, yet the evident friendship off screen helps this come across on screen as they wind each other up with typical antics such as name-calling, nudging and announcing your pal as a paedophile at a children’s water park ride. Not all typical then, but undoubtedly the connection between the famous foursome is as close as ever, and actually offers up a few nearly touching moments as they share their tales of woe.
So what’s next for The Inbetweeners? Will we see them complete their transition to adulthood with marriages and kids like the American Pie lot, churning out countless unnecessary instalments and spin-offs? I sincerely hope not. If this is to be their last hurrah, they will bow out on a deserved high point. The latest effort is unlikely to bring an abundance of new fans aboard, but for us existing ones, it’s a must-see.