The Inbetweeners Movie (15)
Release Date: Wednesday 17 August
Cast: Simon Bird, James Buckley, Blake Harrison and Joe Thomas
Director: Ben Palmer
Screenwriter Iain Morris, Damon Beesley
Running Time: 97 minutes
After featuring the foursome on the front cover of the magazine and bestowing an NME Shockwaves Award on them for Best TV programme, it’s safe to say we here at NME are more than a little enamoured with the boys of Rudge Park Comprehensive. Such is our affection for The Inbetweeners we may be perilously close to facing the daily ordeal of having strangers yell at us in a high pitched voice, “Telly fwend!”, or worse, “Teenage boy fwend!” while simultaneously administering the ‘double thumbs’.
With that in mind it was with mild trepidation that we approached the first big screen outing for Will, Simon, Neil and Jay. We can happily report that trepidation, mild or otherwise, is unwarranted, for The Inbetweeners Movie is brilliantly what it is. The Inbetweeners writ large. Nothing more, nothing less.
The path from small to silver screen is littered with the remains of comic talent (and James Corden) who thought they could make it with the big boys. Be forewarned, the following sentence contains at least two crimes against cinema. Guest House Paradiso, Kevin and Perry Go Large, Ali G In Da House and Lesbian Vampire Killers all clawed away at our subconscious as we took our seats, awaiting the prospect of a 40ft Simon Bird. To our relief, within minutes is was apparent The Inbetweeners is nothing like the aforementioned atrocities.
Bypassing the pitfall of ‘let’s make it The Inbetweeners on acid!’ and throwing the gang head first into a political conspiracy that MAY JUST HOLD THE TRUTH ABOUT THE MOONLANDINGS, the simplicity of the four friends looking for “sex, booze, tits, sex, fanny minge, sex, tits, booze and sex” holds up perfectly.
For that, admittedly small, percentage of people flocking to the cinema who aren’t aware that clunge means ‘female genitalia’ – and that the boys’ main goal in life is to insert their penises into said clunge – within the first five minutes this has been made abundantly clear.
Because we have four easily identifiable, hopelessly inept (read: real and believable) teenagers at the forefront, the story moves at a swift pace, throwing in comedy set-pieces – involving puke, ants, nudity and a genuinely funny dance number – that actually raise a chuckle. Sure, one or two gags miss the target (mainly gay jokes that were out of date before the boys were born) but there’s an inherent niceness to proceedings that grants the makers the benefit of the doubt.
In no way does the film share the poignancy of say a Stand By Me or the emotional depth of fellow Brit comedy Four Lions, but The Inbetweeners does have heart. By the end of the first act, no matter how ridiculous their pissy antics you’ll invest in these sad little bastards and ask that they please, please, please get what they want. What made the show work in the first place was the people watching at home related emphatically. Even upscaled you still will.
Those that think teenagers drinking heavily and wanting to touch boobiess is the devil’s work will leave at the sight of Jay masturbating into ham while wearing a snorkle. The rest of us can sit back, relax and enjoy a bloody nice time with some old friends.
Perhaps the most surprising quality, and the attribute that may help its box office, is The Inbetweeners Movie works for the uninitiated. It’s a simple coming of age comedy about four friends, each an archetypal character – the nerdy one, the lovelorn one, the bullshitter and the happy fool – all with similar goals and the ‘fwendship’ they share. It’s Superbad for Blighty, it’s Swingers for the wanking crowd.