It must be really challenging to turn a hit TV show into a film. I remember watching Jerry Seinfeld being interviewed about his film, Bee Movie, and how the experience made him respect moviemakers a lot more. He had believed that writing a movie was just like putting four episodes of a half-hour TV show together. It can’t be that simple; the only easy part is just telling one story instead of several. The Inbetweeners Movie goes for ninety minutes and I think the material just manages to hold on to the running time. I’ve been a huge fan of The Inbetweeners for a number of weeks now…hang on it’s actually not even two…but it’s still in my top shows of all time.
Keep in mind this film review will contain spoilers.
I highly recommend you watch all the episodes of the series before you watch the film. The film is a gift to the show’s audience. That’s not to say that those who haven’t watched the show will enjoy the movie, but I recommend that new fans start with the show.
Four boys who aren’t part of the geek crowd but also not cool, are what we call “the inbetweeners”. They are William McKenzie (Simon Bird), Simon Cooper (Joe Thomas), Jay Cartwright (James Buckley) and Neil Sutherland (Blake Sutherland). If you want to know more about the TV series, I suggest you read my review on it before you even think about watching the movie.
Here it is, but if you can’t be bothered, I’ll provide a snippet.
“The Inbetweeners is a British sitcom that focuses on four teenage boys living in the British suburbs, who go to school at Rudge Park Comprehensive. The series begins when Will Mckenzie (Simon Bird) starts his first day at the school. Will is the central character and the show’s narrator, and had moved to the comprehensive school after his parents divorced, as his mother could no longer afford private schooling. The friends he chooses to be associated with (Simon, Jay and Neil) aren’t popular, but they aren’t geeks either, placing their social standing in the middle, which is where the show’s title comes from; they are “the inbetweeners”.”
The Inbetweeners Movie, which can be said to be a “coming-of-age” comedy film, takes place months after the final episode of the show. The boys have completed their A-Levels, meaning that high school is over. Now 18 years old, they travel to Malia, Greece to go on holiday. Going on holiday with friends and without parents in the time off between the end of school and the beginning of university is a rite of passage for a lot of young people. The Brits don’t have a word for this; Australians call it “schoolies” (or “binge-drinking week”).
Keeping with the show’s tradition, the boys are keen on clubbing, getting drunk and scoring girls, especially as their track record with the ladies hasn’t been very good (except for Neil, one could say). They awkwardly introduce themselves to girls in a club, and they become interested in each other. Another series staple present in the film is the humour that is so rude and so very British.
This is my first retro review of a film (although it’s quite new in the US), meaning I had the opportunity to watch it again after my first viewing. As I made clear in my review of the show, The Inbetweeners is a five star show with not a single bad episode and so many funny moments. Does the movie live up to the almost flawless show? Unfortunately, no, it doesn’t, but it’s still a really good treat for the fans of the show. I appreciated it a lot more after repeated viewings.
A joy of the TV series was how its portrayal of the unpopular boys felt realistic. Instead of each episode having a happy ending, the boys’ attempts at getting laid or getting popular would usually fail miserably in such a hilarious fashion. How can we forget Will and Simon almost getting laid on multiple occasions? Teenage boys could easily relate to these guys. Now a lot of that is still in the movie – in fact there are plenty of hilarious stuff-ups. It’s a happy ending though, which seems to be against the spirit of the show for some. I disagree with this, because the movie is supposed to be the show’s finale. It’s also a ninety minute story rather than twenty minutes, so there has to be character development, which works fine as we see the boys grow up (a bit).
There are rumours about a follow-up film, but assuming this is the last story featuring these characters, I believe it ended quite nicely. After all the blokes’ blunders, it is poignant to see things end well, and to see the characters change for the better. Neil even shares with Will an important life lesson, and it’s actually a (mostly) really clever one. It was also great to finally see Simon finally settle things with Carli. The boys won the girls, but they had to work for it, except for Neil, who took it for granted. If this is the end, it’s fine by me. If there’s another film, I’m not sure if they’ll be able to outdo themselves, and make a fair point about why it needed to exist.
Fans of the TV series will love The Inbetweeners Movie. Those who aren’t familiar with the show can still enjoy it. If you hate the show, don’t even bother. It’s not as funny as the show, but it’s definitely worth seeing and is a great end for these hilarious characters.
I give The Inbetweeners Movie 4.5/5. It was a 4 on my first viewing, but I love this show so much, and the movie delivered the fans everything they wanted.