The Inbetweeners Movie
Just as Americans have Cancun for indulgent, debauched getaways, young aspiring profligate Brits have Crete, apparently. "The Inbetweeners Movie" chronicles the absurd holiday exploits of a foursome of high school seniors set loose with ample libido and Daddy’s money. The pink ’Pussay Patrol’ t-shirts that they sport en route to Greece (until a haughty ticket counter attendant makes them remove them, highlighting their self-induced impotence) are emblematic of their misbegotten attempts to overcome their social awkwardness in order to become scoring studs.
As the title suggests, it’s not that they are complete loser-dorks, and only bespectacled Will (Simon Bird) is a virgin, as far as we know. It’s that they are oblivious and out of step enough that horrendous social situations and obstacles are bound to arise. Truly, these dudes are so idiotic at times that one may be reviled even when taking the film in the light spirit in which it is intended.
It should be established, for those as oblivious to pop culture and movie advertising as these characters are to basic tenets of interpersonal relations, that this is a stereotypical gross-out teen comedy. (The quartet first saw life for three seasons on British television prior to this film, which was meant as a coda for the series.) Before these four even head to Greece, we are a bit grossed out- scrawny and cocksure Jay (James Buckley) is caught masturbating with his snorkeling gear on- and also introduced to the obligatory heartfelt element that will counterbalance the gags throughout the story. So, guys and gals appreciative of "American Pie" sorts of films: this one’s for you! And it’s a largely successful exemplar of the genre. You will laugh. You will gasp. You will likely bemoan its disgustingness with delight.
Will is the film’s narrator and the voice of reason. The narration is at times annoyingly trite or silly, but Bird does well at creating a lovable dork whose level-headed responses are comically contrapuntal to the increasingly inane antics of his friends. The orange-faced Neil (Blake Harrison), who was foolish enough to get a head start on his tanning by amply applying his sister’s fake tan lotion to his face, is a tall and toothsome chap that is nowhere near as smooth as he may appear at a glance. We learn that he has an inexplicable affinity for fingering cougars, though this gives way to dry humping a lanky girl his own age. Simon (Joe Thomas) is an oft-perplexed romantic who gets a punch to the genitals by his caring friends every time he mentions the girl who dumped him pre-holiday. He whines endlessly about his separation from her, and, predictably enough, he is callous towards the forgiving Lucy (Tamla Kari) when she tries to win him over.
It is through the four girls that these guys meet upon entering an empty bar on their first night out that they have a meaningful experience on their holiday- as opposed to the simple cycle of boozing and cruising that they so naively anticipated. It is a typical ’men are well-meaning fools’ and ’women are the forgiving and insightful antidotes to male stupidity’ dynamic, which works well here. There are enough cringe-inducing moments brought on by the bro’s, some of which are excellently played and some of which skirt too closely the boundaries of acceptable vulgarity or plausibility, that these vibrant young women are a refreshing force to be reckoned with.
Perhaps the most rewarding of them is Jane (Lydia Rose Bewley), who unflinchingly takes on the thoughtless fat jokes that are flung at her around every corner. Jay the wanker is one of those thoughtless dudes in the beginning, but of course he comes around and gets over his embarrassment of being seen with Jane in order to appreciate her attributes.
It may be an average tale of adolescent males maturing and learning to show a little respect to the ladies, but there is a keen sense of comedy here, only occasionally offset by character conflicts that feel forced.
The Inbetweeners Movie
Will McKenzie :: Simon Bird
Jay Cartwright :: James Buckley
Neil Sutherland :: Blake Harrison
Simon Cooper :: Joe Thomas
Carli D'Amato :: Emily Head
Lucy :: Tamla Kari
Lisa :: Jessica Knappett
Richard :: Theo Barklem-Biggs
James :: Theo James
Will's Dad :: Anthony Head
Director, Ben Palmer; Executive Producer, Damon Beesley; Executive Producer, Iain Morris; Producer, Christopher Young; Film Editor, William Webb; Production Design, Dick Lunn.