Reviewed by GREG KING
Directors: Iain Morris and Damon Beasley
Stars: Simon Bird, James Buckley, Joe Thomas, Blake Harrison, Tamla Kari, Freddie Stroma, Emily Berrington, David Field.
Yet another raunchy comedy about male bonding and horny teens caught on the cusp of adulthood The Inbetweeners 2 follows in the gross out footsteps of films like Porkys and Superbad and their ilk. Given the success of the first film at the box office, The Inbetweeners 2 is the sequel we had to have. This sequel to 2011’s The Inbetweeners follows the movie length spin off of the popular British sitcom that ran from 2008-2010 and explored the misadventures of four horny social misfits. There is the nerdy and ultra-critical Will (Simon Bird), the nice Simon (Joe Thomas), the dorky and gormless Neil (Blake Harrison), and the cheeky oversexed Jay (James Buckley).
This sequel takes up with the central characters a few months after the first film, with Will now at university, although struggling to fit in; Simon is in a committed relationship with a borderline psychotic in Lucy (Tamla Kari); Neil has a job with a bank, and Jay is enjoying the gap year experience in Australia. When he sends the boys a long SMS detailing his life of sex and sun, the other three get wanderlust and head down under to join him. When they arrive though they discover that Jay’s tales of a life of sex, living in a luxurious mansion and rocking out at a nightclub as a hot DJ have been a pathetic fantasy. They discover that Jay is actually working in the bathroom of a nightclub, and living in a tent in the backyard of his uncle’s house.
Nonetheless, the four set out to enjoy a holiday down under, travelling to the iconic Byron Bay with a bunch of pretentious backpackers. Will takes an instant dislike to a dreadlock sporting handsome hunk who is a rival for the affections of the pretty backpacker Katie (Emily Berrington). There is also a disastrous visit to Splash Planet, a local water theme park, which provides some of the funniest moments of the entire film. Then they discover the real, and rather sad, reason why Jay has come to Australia and they head off to the outback where they have a near death experience.
Thus The Inbetweeners 2 follows a great tradition of British tv sitcoms (and even a few American shows) coming down under, although most of them have tended to have a fairly condescending view of Australia and our lifestyle. Creators and writers Iain Morris and Damon Beasley have drawn upon their own experiences to create these hapless but somehow endearing characters. They find plenty of sarcastic humour at the expense of backpackers and young Britons heading down under for their “gap year”, and the whole trippy Byron Bay vibe. There are some scenic views of Australia, which is also typical of the genre, and about all that’s missing is Uluru.
There is something a little formulaic about it all. But the broad humour here is pretty much hit and miss, with more misses than hits. There is plenty of scatological humour, particularly during an extended sequence at a water theme park, which includes the best turd in the swimming pool gag since Caddyshack.
Morris and Beasley take over the directorial reins here although their handling of the material is uneven and the pacing lacks rhythm. And the pair don’t really push the envelope in terms of the naughtiness on display, and the film feels more like an episode of the tv series. As with most 30 minutes sitcoms stretched to feature length, much of the humour falls flat and the cracks begin to show around the edges of the material. There is also a misogynist streak to much of the boys only style crass humour as well.
The four leads, most now close to thirty, are starting to look a little too old to be playing horny and gawky teens, but they are familiar with the characters, and their easy going rapport helps smooth over some of the rough edges as they continually humiliate themselves.
An uncredited David Fields plays Jay’s nasty uncle, but his character is a bit of a cringe worthy stereotype that would not have been out of place in that classic Wake In Fright.
Thankfully, The Inbetweeners 2 is not as rank or as offensive as some of the recent films from Adam Sandler. There is a sequence during the final credits that shows the four lads on a holiday trip to South East Asia, suggesting a Hangover-style third film in the series, although during their trip to Australia to promote the film the four said that this would be the final Inbetweeners feature film. Fans of the series will probably enjoy this more than those unfamiliar with the characters or the tv series.