CliqueClack Flicks

The Inbetweeners Movie – I miss the TV show.

The Inbetweeners Movie - Theater Review
Release Date: 08/17/2011 (UK) - MPAA Rating: Unrated
Clacker Rating: 3 Clacks

'The Inbetweeners Movie' fails where the original TV show succeeded, but still remains a funny enough teen comedy.

Teenagers are generally crudely misrepresented in film and television. The British TV show The Inbetweeners, created by Iain Morris and Damon Beesley, sought to redress this and was largely successful, capturing the insecurity, awkwardness and often downright stupidity of adolescence. As a teenage, middle-class, suburban-Londoner I can personally identify with the characters; we do (almost) talk like that and are (almost) that sarcastic and cruel to each other. We cast our bored, cynical gazes over our peers with Will’s (Simon Bird) sense of superiority and detachment, while trying desperately to fit in. It is this sense of  ‘otherness’ that elevates The Inbetweeners from the rest of the coming-of-age shows on British television. It presents teenagers as human, unlike other shows like, say, Skins, or, I dunno, the news. I hoped that all this could be said for The Inbetweeners Movie, directed by Ben Palmer. It couldn’t.

That’s not to say it wasn’t a good film; it was sweet, it was engaging, it was well acted, it was funny. Mainly. In one scene, Jay (James Buckley) shaves his privates and then sprays them with aftershave, and of course screams with pain. That’s barely a joke. The humour of the TV series has been watered down for the movie, so we’re left with none of the wit and all of the ‘gross-out’ gags.

Another problem is that, apart from Will, the central characters are utterly unlikeable. Why would Lucy (Tamla Kari) be into Simon (Joe Thomas), given that all he’s ever said to her is how much he loves his ex-girlfriend? It’s also very predictable, which is not something I’ve come to expect from the TV show.

The original appeal of The Inbetweeners was that the characters are outsiders, and it can only work if they remain outsiders. A problem arises when they’re perceived by the audience as cool, which in a way they are, because of the huge following that the show developed. Once they’re seen as cool, no longer outsiders, it starts to fall apart; the offensive things the characters say lose the sense of irony that made themselves the butt of the jokes. The audience stops laughing at the idiot characters, and starts to laugh with them. This, at least to an extent, has happened with The Inbetweeners and that is one crucial problem with the film, and the entire franchise.

The other important problem is that The Inbetweeners was originally about subverting this teenage culture in which the four clueless characters cluelessly wander about. But The Inbetweeners Movie seemed to be embracing, rather than subverting, that culture. It had none of the edge of the series, no real satirical angle. As a film, it seemed confused about what, if anything, it was trying to say.

Overall, The Inbetweeners Movie is a long, not very good episode of The Inbetweeners. Unlike many sitcoms, it survives the transition to the big screen, and that is to its credit. However, it lacks the subversive nature of the TV show and other recent British comedy films, such as the excellent Four Lions or In The Loop, itself a movie adaptation of a brilliant TV show, The Thick Of It. I’ll just keep waiting for the Arrested Development movie.


Photo Credit: Nicola Dove

One Response to “The Inbetweeners Movie – I miss the TV show.”

August 24, 2011 at 12:29 PM

I too am waiting patiently for the Arrested Development movie. SIGH.

Powered By OneLink