GIVEN THE HOOPLA surrounding the TV series and its untimely demise, a big-screen finale for the socially inept teens of Rudge Park comprehensive in south-west London would seem apt. They, like us, face the daunting task of moving on (and growing up). A gentle easing down is required. An upcoming US version, after all, simply won’t do.
First published in The Sun-Herald.
No-one could have predicted the monstrous success this feature-length farewell has had in its native England, though: it’s had the biggest opening of any British comedy, with $AU66 million and counting at the box office. Suddenly, the idea of The Inbetweeners vanishing from our screens isn’t a given. A return big-screen version can’t be ruled out, either.
Buckling under such acclaim and attention, the film itself comes as a shock, since it manages to spectacularly abandon all of its small-screen smarts. Almost immediately, the four lads go from graduating and farewelling parents to taking off to Crete – for a coming-of-age boozefest, surrounded by likeminded party heads. Expletives and gross-out gags are tossed out in rapid-fire succession, with none of the bite or satire of the original. It’s a depressing delivery, comparable to the stale era of the CARRY ON and ON THE BUSES series, only worse.
Oddly, the film’s second half marks a further departure, as the pace calms and the audience is spared misfire gag overkill. When Simon (Thomas) dives off a party boat to swim ashore in the name of romance, the franchise’s Peep Show-inspired sense of timing is at last restored. Sadly, it’s simply too little, too late.
Television series often come unstuck when the big screen comes calling (SEX AND THE CITY being an infamous case in point). More’s the pity that THE INBETWEENERS is far from immune to this. My advice: watch the show again at home, as nature intended.
Critical Rating: 3/10.
THE INBETWEENERS is in cinemas now.