Back for a second big screen outing, ‘The Inbetweeners 2 (2014)‘ is a delightful young British comedy that does exactly what it says on the tin. The formula stays the same as Simon Bird, James Buckley, Blake Harrison and Joe Thomas return as Will, Jay, Neil and Simon in another comedy abroad, this time in Australia.
The plot lines have been excellently followed throughout the lifespan of ‘The Inbetweeners‘ and it doesn’t stop here. Most comedies, particularly those going to film, tend to digress from previously established plot lines but here the same references and narratives for the characters arcs continue on.
Following on from the last film, the boys are at university, apart from Jay who is taking a ‘gap year’ in Australia. He e-mails the boys and cue – the bullshit is back and more epic than ever, accompanied by a fantastic little sequence to go with his little porky pie tale. The boys decide to take a holiday during their university Easter break, and go down under to visit Jay and hence the frivolities begin.
The cinematography in this film is very good with a deep saturated colour pallete and great swooping shots – it is clear it has a bigger budget and a better DOP than before. However, the odd thing about this is it distinguishes itself visually from the other film and the series. Albeit, they are in Australia, which helps, but it does move it away from that low budget British affair just slightly.
The film contains shit jokes – literally – and plenty of other brilliant gags blending from the great repertoire of characters written. With this comes some great references to current affairs – Jimmy Saville and paedophile jokes join in the banter from the lads and is pleasantly achieved. The visual gags are as good as ever and the Kevin and Perry-esque shit joke is a stand out. As the turd hits Will on the face at the water park and the film goes into slow motion it becomes almost a parody of a Vietnam war film with people running away screaming, saving the children, diving out of the way as Will looks to the heaven in tears and anger.
There is a cute scene in the middle of the film where Neil goes swimming with a dolphin and starts to feed it fast food. The Dolphins are so adorable and cute and it’s a brilliant scene – until the Dolphin dies. It is quite a tragic scene and did feel a little odd in the middle film but it didn’t last too long.
The crux of the film is the fact that the boys are staying in a hostel where Will meets a girl he fancies the pants off and decides to chase around for most the film. Accompanying are a cast of pretentious rich kids – particularly her ‘on-off’ boyfriend. Emily Berrington and Freddie Stroma play Katie and Ben respectively and they both are the most annoying people in the world – both as characters and actors. This was perhaps to the advantage of film, they were meant to be annoying, but Emily’s voice is so grating and annoying it hurt sometimes. The great upside to this is later in the film Will delivers an epic rant to them both when he realises they are taking the piss out of him. His 2 minute bashing of pretentious, rich, hippy ‘travellers’ as they claim to be is now up in my top 20 on-screen rants of all time.
The weird thing that developed in this film is the characters, whom were previously understood stereotypes that just delivered jokes. They try to layer in some emotion and depth in to the film and the actors perhaps played there parts better than ever before. However, I’m not sure if the drama they tried to add in to the film is necessarily needed in this type of comedy, it can work just as well without it – just let them tell gags.
Near the end of the film, their car breaks down in the middle of the Australian outback and the boys start to become dehydrated and ‘believe there about to die’. It is comical at first, but then turns dramatic for a few minutes and for a slight moment, I really thought about the emotions of the characters and felt for them. Then it just became Toy Story 3 false-ending all over again.
Near the end, the film starts to grow weak. They start running out of gags and in the last 10 minutes of the film, I felt, this is where it needs to stop. The actors are visibly older now and I think it has ran it’s course. It’s had a phenomenal outing – 3 series and 2 films and lots of money and viewers is pretty damn good for a show started on E4 – but I feel they can’t go further with it.
My friend has suggested perhaps they could do it a few years later where theirs a wedding or something similar – maybe in the vain of ‘American Pie (1999)‘ – but I’m not sure it would work. The whole crux of the show was ‘the in-between years’ of college and these boys, these outcasts, having a jolly good time and reflecting the humour of teenage boys. That boat has sailed and although it kinda still works at unviersity in this film, there running low on steam. There re-using gags and set pieces and that is when you need to bail.
All in all though, this was a pretty good film. BBC film critic Mark Kermode says that a film is funny if you belly laugh out loud 3 times during your viewing. Well, I may be easily amused, but my laughometer score stands at 57 for this film, which I think is pretty damn good. The film did exactly what I promised, it made me laugh. It was great to see the cast one last time and enjoy one of the best comedies from the UK in recent years.
Out of most of this Summer’s films, this is a highlight. If your young and enjoy the humour – get out and watch it, it’s terrific fun. But I am not sure I want to see it return again.
I give it *4.2/5*
By David Roberts