The Inbetweeners 2: My thoughts (possible spoilers included)

by - Friday, August 15, 2014

Having gone through the secondary school system in the early noughties, The Inbetweeners is less of a throwaway comedy, and more of an observation of the trials, tribulations and painfully relatable adolescence of young British males. It was so brilliant as a TV show because of this tenacity - the ability to be yes, crude and full of toilet humour, but to portray so well the intricacies of friendship and first world problems.

That 'The Inbetweeners Movie' was such a success isn't surprising, but the fact they attempted a second one does suggest that there has been a little milking of the proverbial cash cow. Whilst the lads holiday of the first film was such a brilliantly obvious choice, the gap year setting of 'Inbetweeners 2' comes across a little similar. Following the boys across the country as they indulge in gap year cliches, get into trouble and attempt (miserably) to pull, it has all the usual tropes but somehow, seems to lack the heart that we fell in love with in the first place.

Packed full of jokes, I'd be lying if I said I didn't laugh at all. The Inbetweeners was often best loved for it's crude humour, and this is available in spades here, which packs a laugh for the first half hour but then begins to grate. My biggest bugbear is the Rape jokes - whilst one is a classic ‘it’s not what it looks’ set up that has the audience fully in on the joke in a way that we can all laugh at, the others are just cheap, awkward and shock-orientated, in a way that comes across a little desperate. The films real star is Neil (Blake Harrison), whose comedic timing when swimming with dolphins is profanity-free but completely hilarious. 

 Does everything an Inbetweeners film should do – cack handed sexual experiences, laughing at the tropes of adolescence (Will’s rant at the contrived nature of backpackers provides one true laugh out loud moment), Jay’s bullshitting, Neil’s stupidity, Simon's sappiness – it’s all there. And amusing as it all is, it does feel as if it loses pace halfway. The narrative has clearly fallen second to the smut this time around as the writers aim direct and true for their intended audience. That’s not to say all the lowbrow humour is unfunny – one poo joke is exceptionally shot, leaving you feeling genuinely ill. My overwhelming feeling is not one of true disappointment, but more a sense that the legacy could have been left perfectly intact my stopping at one film. The natural comedy between the four friends was often compromised and left me feeling like they had missed the real essence of humour in the situation.

This is where I had my epiphany:  why was 'The Inbetweeners 2' not 'The Inbetweeners do Freshers?' It could have been quintessentially British and full of character-relevant japery... Simon struggling to maintain a long distance relationship, Neil trying to get in through clearing, Jay chasing every girl in sight and joining the feminist society because he thinks it’ll get him laid, Will trying hard drugs and needing to call ambulance/mummy... I can practically see the screenplay now. Channel 4, get in touch yeah? 

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