The Film Rant: The Inbetweeners 2
The more I think about The Inbetweeners 2, the record breaking sequel to the smash hit Inbetweeners Movie, the less I like it. Directed by Ian Morris and Damon Beesley (writers of the series and the first film), this most pointless of sequels lacks both the realistic cringe comedy of the series and the charming characters of the first film. Instead, all we get is repetitive toilet humour, the same jokes we’ve seen fifty times before hammered into the ground and a curious lack of any interesting or even particularly funny characters (and that does include the main four).
After a bizarre opening credits sequence and some jokes about how unpopular Will (Simon Bird) is and Neil (Blake Harrison)’s exposed testicles, we get to the main plot of the film; Jay (James Buckley) has moved to Australia, where he is apparently having sex with supermodels by day (including a “threesome with the Minogues”, one of the better jokes in the film) and DJ’ing under the name ‘DJ Big Penis’. Curious to find out what Jay’s life is really like, Will, Simon (Joe Thomas) and Neil head out to Australia, where they all find themselves in various unpleasant situations. Though the first film had a reason for existing and a reason to leave England (the boys celebrated finishing high school by going on a lad’s holiday), this has a flimsy-at-best excuse for a plot, and doesn’t really do anything with it.
One of the best ideas of the first film was four female counterparts, each of whom gave the characters a bit of purpose and drive. In the sequel, Will and Neil’s love interests have been completely forgotten about, Jay’s girlfriend Jane has left him for the outback and Simon’s girlfriend Lucy has turned into the psycho girlfriend-from-hell who cuts up his hoodies, burns his playstation and generally acts like the biggest bunny boiler since Fatal Attraction first screened. Lucy is perhaps the biggest example of what is wrong with The Inbetweeners 2; there isn’t a single likeable, realistic or funny character in the film. The four main characters of the series were likeable because they were high schoolers who only ever wanted to meet girls, drink in a pub and make it through to the other side. Now they’re all adults, the dynamic just feels odd. Neil used to be charmingly simple but now he seems genuinely mentally deficient, Simon used to be a bit of a pushover with high school crush Carly but now stays in an actively abusive relationship (which is apparently hilarious) and Will is just incredibly loathsome, constantly getting into situations through his own stupidity and arrogance. Only Jay, the most deliberately unlikeable character, comes out looks fairly okay.
I wish I could say The Inbetweeners 2 was a misogynistic film, based on how evil Lucy is and how annoying Will’s hippy love interest Katie is, but that would be wrong. It isn’t a woman hating film so much as it is a human hating film, for just about every single character is obnoxious. Unlike the first film, which had a clear cut villain in holiday rep James, it’s hard to know who we’re supposed to hate more. There’s Jay’s uncle, a crude bullying man who generally acts like Jay’s Dad (with less jokes). There’s Ben, a dreadlocked, guitar strumming arse who is Will’s main love rival and acts horribly to everyone. The closest the film comes to Richard, the lovably tragic partyer of the first film, is a middle aged woman with a failing marriage who dances inappropriately and smokes a lot of weed. And she really isn’t that funny.
The sad thing is, a lack of plot or hugely likable characters wouldn’t be such a big problem if the film was funny enough, but it just isn’t. Not that I’m saying it’s completely devoid of laughs; there are definitely some good lines and a few decent sized laughs (Neil’s encounter with a dolphin and Will’s encounter with a guitar are the highlights) but compared to the highest highs of the series (“You bumder”, Neil punching a fish and Will shitting himself in an exam) or even the biggest laughs of the first film (dancing across from the nightclub, Simon diving off the boat), it’s certainly lacking in anything hugely memorable. Plus, there’s far too much reliance on toilet humour which isn’t necessary when the actors and writers are this talented. Multiple flashes of genitalia, shitting in a swimming pool, Simon getting pissed on; it’s all so unnecessary.
I didn’t quite dislike The Inbetweeners 2 as much as this review makes out, due to a few funny lines and set pieces. Compared to what came before, however, it is nothing but a massive disappointment. Maybe it’s unfair to compare it to the series when the series is recognised as one of the best modern British sitcoms, but at the end of the day, Beesley and Morris set a high standard that they don’t even approach in this cash-grabbing sequel. Though not close to as bad as truly vile Brit comedies like Keith Lemon: The Movie, The Inbetweeners 2 does share a grubby, unclean quality with such terrible films that it ends up leaving a questionable taste in your mouth. Unlike The Inbetweeners Movie, which continued the standard of the series as well as upping the action and leaving us with a great conclusion to the lives of the four. The Inbetweeners 2 only offers a dumb plot, a few solid laughs, unlikeable characters and a really rather rubbish ending.
By Harry J. Ford
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