By Clint Morris
Not so much a film as it is a stomach-churning reminder of waking up face-first on the footpath outside your high-school on the morning after graduation (or was that just me?), “The Inbetweeners Movie” serves as another filmish reminder to watch your livers and cloak the raging hormones.
Based on a popular British series about four over-eager teenagers who don’t exactly fit in (they might be best described as the molecular separation of the Jay Underwood character in “The Boy Who Could Fly” – only with the ability to swear and talk smut, not fly), the film takes the “Revenge of the Nerds II : Nerds in Paradise” by keeping what works about the characters in the first place (their weekly plight to snag girls and basically misbehave) but changing the backdrop behind them to somewhere a little more lush. The result is a movie that plays much like an episode of the series – but just looks bigger. And that might be just what the fan desires.
Written by series creators Damon Beesley and Iain Morris and directed by Ben Palmer, “The Inbetweeners Movie” sees Will, Simon, Jay and Neil trekking to the holiday hotspot of Crete after finishing highschool. A couple of the guys need significantly cheering up – Simon’s been dumped by girlfriend Carli (who, as luck has it, is also holidaying in Crete) and Will’s father has married his much, much younger mistress – and so obviously a few nights in the clubs, chasing girls and drinking hard-to-pronounce alcoholic drinks will serve as the appropriate fix.
Things, of course, don’t go according to plan for the foursome; the only girls expressing interest in the group are large forty-something women with a penchant for dry-humping on the dance floor, Simon goes up against a jock that’s chasing his ex-girlfriend, and Jay’s beans and frank make an unfortunate appearance in the vicinity of a packed hotel pool.
It’s the performances of the cast, not so much the writing (though there are some good insights into the nutty teenager within the libretto), that keep “The Inbetweeners Movie” an engaging and vivacious time. But while it’s significantly better than the similar-themed “Kevin and Perry Go Large” film, also based on a couple of small-screen British teenagers, it’s not a broadly appealing movie by any means. In fact, you’ll find most folks who haven’t been to highschool since the invention of the internet will be a bit confused by it’s appeal.
While some other teen films like, for instance, “American Pie”, might attract to a much wider demographic because of their finite balance of the silly and sweet, “Inbetweeners” seems quite content with just being silly. And hey, that’s OK too.