The Inbetweeners 2 (2014)
The Inbetweeners are back, but this time they’re just visiting.
The Inbetweeners began in 2008 as a small-time Channel 4 show centering on four English teenage boys at the ‘inbetween’ stage of life; no longer boys, but very much not yet men. The first series followed Will McKenzie (Simon Bird) — an uptight goody-two-shoes, typically seen carrying around a briefcase — who, after his parent’s divorce, was forced to move from a Private School into the far less glamorous Rudge Park Comprehensive. Along with friends Simon Cooper (Joe Thomas) — a spiky haired, immature romantic — Neil Sutherland (Blake Harrison) — a simpleton — and Jay Cartwright (James Buckley) — a sex pest and pathological liar — for three seasons, The Inbetweeners covers the lad’s high school years. Throughout the show, the foursome embarks on a series of misadventures in their quest for the ever-elusive female of the species. This tiny production, beyond the expectations of many, went on to achieve great acclaim and success, both in the UK and internationally. The show broke the rules and comfort zones with its special brand of childish outrageous, second-hand embarrassment, sometimes gag inducing humor, and, with season three concluding in 2010, and the first movie released back in 2011, many thought that this was the last the world had seen of the quartet.
The first film left the chaps after their graduation, celebrating in the Greek island of Mikonos, with new girlfriends and a lease on life. Now, the lads have left school and all but Simon have ended their previous relationships; Will and Simon are off to University, Neil’s doing, ‘whatever Neil does’ and Jay is taking a gap year, living with his uncle in Australia. After receiving a very convincing email from Jay, detailing the wonderful time he has been having Down Under — and all the women he has been shagging — Will, Simon and Neil decide to surprise him and pop down to this sunburnt land to try their luck at a good time, only to discover that life for Jay, as expected, isn’t as great as he had let on. The film exhibits the same formula that both the television show and first movie follow, with Will making a fool of himself for a girl, Simon not knowing how to handle a relationship, plenty of masturbatory humor from Jay, and Neil doing, ‘whatever it is Neil does.’
However, even with this recipe firmly in place, writer-director Iain Morris — who produced and penned The Inbetweeners Movie (2011) and television show — still manages to keep proceedings fresh, finding new lows for the characters to sink to, as well as numerous boundaries for the boys to break. In amongst the vile, uncomfortable and sometimes scatological humor, comes moments of dry wit and touching revelations as the comic rule of ‘no hugging, no learning,’ that the show so desperately clung on to, is finally abandoned. Filmed entirely in Australia, the creators make excellent use of the spectacular landscapes on offer, with plenty of breathtaking scenic imagery; though Australian audiences may be left slightly confused, as there is much creative license taken with the geography of the country. Luckily, the film doesn’t play on old clichés or stereotypes when it comes to the reality of the Australian people, more rather making fun of the English misconceptions of Australian life.
For series devotees, this feature is like coming home and visiting old friends, as it’s been three years since the first film and four since the show wrapped up. With the characters delivering all the disgusting, cringe inducing gags that audiences have so come to expect, as well as expanding the friendship of the four, while offering some rather tear jerking moments, The Inbetweeners 2 has clearly been written for the fans, as it gives them an opportunity to catch up with the lads before they perhaps disappear from our screens forever. In spite of this, those not familiar with the franchise will also find plenty to enjoy within the picture, as this brand of childish humor is so often universal. Furthermore, this sequel in no way resolves or wraps anything up, while the first left all the boys in relationships, perhaps denoting a, ‘and they lived happily ever after’ tone, The Inbetweeners 2 leaves the fannytastic four high and dry, giving the distinctive feeling that it’s not all over yet; who knows, maybe Morris will opt for a three for three approach and go out with a bang.
Some old faces from the first picture return, as well as those much-admired characters from home, linking this feature with other Inbetweeners outings. The talented foursome have really come to inhabit their on-screen personas after seven years of portraying the boys, and this has given them room to really expand on their emotional capacity without changing the true nature and intent of the franchise. Obviously targeted towards a twenty-something market, it must be noted that those foreign to the series should brace themselves to be utterly appalled, as the film is not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach. With a new location and fresh ideas, while keeping true to the winning formula set out in the popular television show, the gleefully filthy Inbetweeners 2 will warm your heart and help you discover a new tolerance level for all things gross and sticky.
3.5 / 5 – Great
Reviewed by Kathryn Snowball
The Inbetweeners 2 is released through Roadshow Entertainment Australia