The Movie

The Inbetweeners Movie is billed as Britain’s #1 Comedy of 2011, so of course I would be interested in seeing it even if I wasn’t already a fan of the television series, which has run for three hilarious seasons on E4 in the UK. Being a fan, I can’t really speak to how this film would play to a viewer who isn’t already familiar with the gang of four awkward, horny teen boys: Will, Jay, Neil and Simon.

What I can say is that it fits in well with the show, finding all the fellas back in fine form for a Lad’s Vacation in Greece. The trademark social awkwardness and snappy banter is on full display, and I laughed many times while watching.

Writers Iain Morris and Damon Beesley are so good at capturing the inner workings of the teen male mind, I was disappointed that they did not put more effort into creating equally awesome female characters. In this film, each of the boys get a distaff foil, and they are all played by very winning actresses who do what they can with the weak material they are given.

In the end, the film is all about the boys — well, and maybe Greg Davies as Mr. Gilbert, whose speech to the graduating students is worth quoting at length:

This isn’t The Dead Poets Society and I am not that bloke on BBC2 who keeps getting kids to sing in choirs. I especially don’t want to hear how well you are settling down at uni or how much growing up you have done in the past twelve months. At best, I am ambivalent towards most of you, but some of you I actively dislike, for no other reason than your poor personal hygiene or your irritating personalities. I hope I have made myself clear on this point — and in case any of you think I am joking, I am not. I assure you, once my legal obligation to look after your best interests is removed, I can be one truly nasty f*cker. Good luck with the rest of your lives and try not to kill anyone. It reflects very badly on all of us here.

American audiences might compare this film to American Pie as a raunchy teen comedy. I don’t think the plotting of The Inbetweeners Movie is quite at that level, but it is assuredly better in terms of witty rejoinders and sentimental moments punctured by colossal acts of stupidity.

Sound & Picture

Just fine. It looks and sounds better than the T.V. show, which was at a normal professional standard. The production value is higher thanks partly to the change in location – Malia, Greece, doubled with various beach cities in Europe.

Bonus Features

There is an entire second disc filled with bonus features, the main one being a very, very in-depth Making Of documentary. This will be of interest to filmmakers who want to see as much behind-the-scenes as they can, although it is oriented towards fans of the actors and is very heavy on them. There is some good info from the production people on some of the shooting challenges — on boats in rough weather, finding locations, keeping paparazzi from shooting Joe Thomas’ junk.

I skipped over “Joe Thomas: Dangerman” which seemed like it would be repeating info from the documentary; I made it through most of “Things We Did Instead of Rehearsing” which just an amusing reel of the actors horsing around in the rehearsal room. The “Deleted Scenes” were interesting as far as those things go. It’s rare you ever come across a deleted scene that you thought shouldn’t have been deleted, and this is no exception, although there are some funny moments in these, such as Jay urinating on the floor of a club bathroom. The “Bloopers” were dull. I didn’t bother checking out the rest of the bonus features. Unless I’m mistaken, there was no commentary track — a glaring omission that you’d never see on a big American comedy release.

Overall

A fitting send-off for a great series but not destined to become a comedy classic. Still, there are enough funny quotes and moments I can see myself re-watching it.