The late Robert Palmer once sang “you can’t get enough of a good thing”, but I can categorically confirm with having watched The Inbetweeners 2 that you most definitely can. The smash hit Channel 4 comedy show, directed by Damon Beesley and Iain Morris, returns to the big screen following the box office success of 2011’s The Inbetweeners Movie, where it took nearly £42 million at the box office off a reported £3.5 million budget.
It is always tough watching something you were once so fond of die a slow, painful death. The TV series was a breath of fresh air; a comedy that made you laugh for all the wrong reasons, but it always felt so very right. Despite how crude and distasteful in humour it was, you could relate to it – whether through the characters or their endeavours – and that made it all the better. The first movie had its critics, and despite it not quite hitting the same high levels of outright ridiculousness the series achieved, it felt like an acceptable way to end what had become an extremely popular and successful show. Heck, with the money they took in from the first film you can hardly blame them for jumping on the sequel bandwagon, but I really wish they had not…
The cringe-tastic gang of Jay (James Buckley), Neil (Blake Harrison), Simon (Joe Thomas) and Will (Simon Bird) find themselves in Australia where Jay had been enjoying a supposedly “epic” gap year. Jay, never shy to make crap up, tells the lads he has been having lots (and lots) of sex with lots (and lots) of different women, whilst the other three, disgruntled with life back home in the UK, fancy a change of scenery. Low and behold, nothing quite goes to plan whilst they are Down Under, leading to the usual amounts of swearing, sex references and silly shenanigans.
There is always going to be a predictable element to The Inbetweeners. It is a bunch of horny, socially awkward lads hoping to pull girls and that will never change, but right from the off this sequel felt forced and tired. The jokes just seemed to have been turned up a little louder on the noise scale to make up for their sheer lack of originality, whilst the storyline was void of any of that weirdly charming aura the series possessed. No moment or line of dialogue stands out like classic Inbetweeners scenes: the infamous fish scene, Simon puking in Carli’s house, or Will pooing his pants – these were defining moments that made the show such a success. Even the supporting cast – the arrogant Ben (Freddie Stroma) and ditzy Katie (Emily Berrington) – felt undercooked compared to their entertaining predecessors from the previous film.
Being such a fan of the show, this was a spectacular let down. It will always be able to produce those few utterly outrageous moments that you will not be able to help but laugh at, like Will getting poo on his face, or Neil having his genitals licked by an animal, but they were few and far between in this extremely disappointing sequel. Maybe it is my age – I am 23 after all – and that I have merely outgrown this type of crude humour, but the little kid inside me prays I have not. Unfortunately I feel that this was merely one large step too far – one that leaves a black mark against an otherwise excellent series and one pretty decent movie outing. Please boys, no more.