2011’s first Inbetweeners movie was a huge success achieving the biggest opening weekend for a comedy film in the UK ever and swiftly becoming the most successful British comedy of all time. There was no hint of the potential problems associated with the transition of a TV series onto the big-screen; the tripling or quadrupling the running time from half an hour format. It adapted so seamlessly because the four boys, Will (Simon Bird), Jay (James Buckley), Neil (Blake Harrison) and Simon (Joe Thomas) were already established as women-chasers, heavy-drinkers and social-idiots and so there was a natural progression into a trip to Malia for more of the same with the movie. Unfortunately the formula this time round does feel a little forced and over-stretched.
The story for the sequel features Jay inviting the other three out to join him in Australia where he is working as a DJ (toilet attendant) and living in a luxury pad (tent) on a gap year. The bigger budget benefiting from its predecessors acclaim allows Jay’s dubious stories to be shown as a series of sight gags of his supposed life in Australia. This betters the initial and needlessly overblown introduction. Will, Neil and Simon decide to go and surprise Jay in Oz and so hop on the next plane out even though Simon runs the risk of his crazy girlfriend (in an unexplained complete character change) losing it at any minute that he doesn’t contact her by Skype. They eventually meet up with Jay and end up at a hostel with some back-packers and a lady who catches Will’s eye.
Much like the first movie, there are some brilliant big belly laughs in the sequel: including one involving poo and another cleverly written scene about a rape alarm. These scenes almost feel a bit American Pie-y in their immaturity and writers/directors Damon Beesley and Iain Morris craft them expertly to ensure that they are delivered at the right time in a fairly patchy middle-act. Sadly though, other than a couple of slapstick moments raising a few grins here and there, that’s really it for the humour.
The lads are usually at their best when they are all together, but their characters are all so exaggerated that they have become caricatures of themselves leaving the banter tired and predictable. Neil’s stupidity, Jay’s lies, Simon’s terrible choice in ladies and Will’s single-mindedness are all overblown and overdone to breaking point. An exchange between Jay and Neil substituting words in favour of the word “Banter” is particularly toe-curling and about two years too late.
With both Jay’s ulterior motives for being in Australia and Beesley and Morris threatening to do the unthinkable in the finale, the tone of the movie is quite erratic, feeling disjointed in places. The plot is also similar to the first with Will and Simon divided by a girl and going their own separate ways, but at least there is a good rant about the pretentious and pompous gap year backpackers this time round as Will goes on one of his customary tirades.
An amusing sting in the tail for Will which could hint at further developments aside, this is where the boys should really call it time. They defined a generation in Britain, but most of it has grown up and settled down now. Maybe they should consider doing the same.