Friday, 8 August 2014

The Inbetweeners 2

With only a few exceptions the transition from TV series to feature film hasn’t fared to well for the British in recent years. The most notable cases in point being the god awful ‘Keith Lemon film’, ‘Ms Browns Boys D’Movie’ as well as the ‘Pudsey the dog movie’ which one only has to see the trailer for to see that it looks absolutely pathetic. Perhaps one of the best TV- movie transitions of the past few years was the Inbetweeners Movie back in 2011 which ended the much loved series with sufficient humour and a hopeful romantic conclusion. However despite the very fitting end, money talks, and the Inbetweeners got a quite unnecessary sequel which invites us back to experience plenty more laughs unfortunately entwined within a hugely inconsistent narrative.

Sticking on the past storyline of a lads holiday the group of four head to Australia where Jay (James Buckly), working there in a hotel, promises them the time of their lives with girls and booze galore. With Will (Simon Bird) hardly enjoying university and Simon (Joe Thomas) and Neil (Blake Harrison) seemingly doing very little at all they decide to join Jay in Australia whereby comedy ensues. The story may as well be identical to its predecessor and in some ways it plays out much like it, however with nearly all plot lines tied up by the end of the last film, the film struggles to get off the ground for a good 15 minutes procrastinating with what the characters are doing and making excuses to why they are available to go on a gap year. This quickly gets tiresome as nervous laughs waft around the cinema in hopeful expectation of things to come, and thankfully the laughs come in their handfuls once the holiday begins.
It’s not until the side characters are introduced that the film finally gets into gear, pitch perfectly mocking the, now infamous, image of the arrogant, preppy gap year student. This, in contrast with the crass and puerile humour of the four boys makes for some truly hysterical scenes, with the ‘spiritual, true traveller’ character of Ben, played excellently by Freddie Stroma, clashing perfectly with the group. Moments of hilarity often spark from this character as he brings the relatable tropes of camping and budget travelling to the table where they are questioned and ridiculed. This subsequently builds into big comedy set pieces whereby their tension finally peaks to largely hysterical results.

You can’t help but reminisce however at the modest, low budget TV series where jokes formulated from ingeniously crafted comedic moments entwined with the sheer wit of the four hugely likeable characters. Here it simply feels as if they’re trying too hard, the set pieces (as funny as most of them are) are simply too grandiose and as a result the film loses some of its simplistic charm. At times the film often forgets what made the show so funny in the first place, where the characters and situations are so relatable that it’s a joy to follow them round and join in their relatable moments of hilarity, and when the film remembers this it is truly at its funniest. However it often forgets, dabbling in plot lines which neither fit in with the story at all nor the audience can relate to or be interested in. This results in a frustratingly inconsistent final film which has strong essence of Inbetweeners comedic flair but also a pungent whiff of huge narrative flaws which can be perfectly encapsulated in the films final beat, wrapping up so quickly it felt almost disloyal to audience members who felt so attached to the characters.

The Inbetweeners 2 lacks the narrative fluidity of the first film but matches if not exceeds it in comedic moments, with one or two especially surely going down as some of their very best moments. This in some ways simply isn’t enough however and you can’t help but feel a little disappointed as the film jolts by, laughter dotted over infrequent pages and the story being almost ignored.

6.5/10- A largely funny Inbetweeners outing with a disappointing focus on story.

Calum Russell  

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