|The Inbetweeners Movie (2011)|
|Written by Daniel Cann|
|Saturday, 27 August 2011|
Usually when a popular television comedy series gets the big film treatment it falls a long way short of its terrestrial promise. I have lost count of film adaptations that failed to hit the mark and were sorry parodies of the exceptional comedies they were on the small screen. So it was with a mixture of interest and trepidation that I went to see ‘The Inbetweeners Movie.’ If you have not already guessed I am an unashamed fan.
What made the television show so appealing was that it was about the underdog, those that don’t quite fit in and who long to be in the perceived ‘elite’ social group at school. Most people can relate to this and everyone has had a friend like Will (Simon Bird), Simon (Joe Thomas), Jay (James Buckley) or Neil (Blake Harrison) at one time in their lives.
I along with the many others who watched the show on E4 felt that while the first two series were excellent, the third series heralded a clear decline. Would a film continue the trend? Would the adventures of the hapless quartet be better suited to a half hour format rather than feature length?
Well, the film sees the four friends leaving Rudge Park Comprehensive and, like millions of other British teenagers, go on holiday in a last act of freedom before university, work and real life intervene.
Malia is the location for the lad’s holiday and writers Iain Morris and Damon Beesley have accurately captured the excitement and anticipation followed by the crushing disappointment of terrible hotels, being ripped off and potential public humiliation as the friends try to impress the girls and make a big impression. They make an impression all right by in true Inbetweeners style!
This works mainly because the writers were Will, Simon, Jay and Neil once and so too are the audiences that will flock to see this. Also the actors are completely at ease with each other and inhabit their roles so effortlessly. Apparently the film had the same crew used for the television series and that familiarity has paid off.
Jay is as desperate and as foul mouthed as ever. Neil reveals his philosophical side in true ‘Neil’ style. Simon is annoyingly still obsessed with the cold Carli (Emily Head) and Will has yet another chance to redeem himself with a member of the opposite sex, in the form of fellow holidaymaker Alison (Laura Haddock).
Part of the fun of the film is that you know these characters so well having watched them for the last three years and you can’t help but wonder if Will can finally lighten up and behave properly without offending anyone?
The film is actually not all about gross-out comedy and embarrassment (although there is plenty of that). Rather it is a rite-of-passage where friendship is tested and everyone learns there is a bigger world out there than safe suburbia and school. This works because it has heart and charm; some of the scenes even manage to be surprisingly poignant.
This all proves that you do not need big production values, stars and budget to have a successful summer film. At the time of writing this has already become the most successful and highest grossing comedy in the UK (even beating US behemoth ‘The Hangover Part II).
With a budget of an estimated £3.5 million and a gross of £13.2 million after just one week it’s already a runaway success.
Fortunately the film is so well written and acted that you do not need to be familiar with the series to enjoy it. The actors in particular manage to elicit sentimentality and sympathy from the audience even amidst all of the ‘carnage.’
I must point out that despite being better than I thought it would be this should still be the ‘last hurrah’ for Will and the gang. There is no logical reason for them to carry on (apart from greed) as it is clear that just as in real life the friends will go their separate ways after this.
It may be sad that it is coming to an end but it has been a hugely enjoyable ride. For my money this film version is nowhere near the lofty heights of series one and two, but just above series three which should see it satisfying its existing loyal following whilst adding new fans.
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