Tonight, US fans of the BBC hit series The Inbetweeners will finally get to see the film that serves as a thank you to the fans and a standalone (of sorts) to those who haven’t seen or heard of the show before.
So the story begins…
Best friends Will (Simon Bird), Jay (James Buckley), Simon (Joe Thomas) and Neil (Blake Harrison) have finally survived high school and like most of us have done the summer after graduation, decide to take a two-week vacation together to the Island of Crete hoping to get a tan, shitfaced and laid – whichever comes first.
Through a series of unfortunate yet hilarious events, what they want and what they get aren’t the same thing but being young, resiliant and (somewhat) resourceful, they believe their salvation lies on a weekend party-boat (aka “booze cruise”) and if they could just get their hands on tickets, everything after that is golden.
Watch this first, then I’ll give you my thoughts. NSFW, haha.
Now, now darlings. I know what you’re thinking – films that are spawned from freshly ended tv shows can’t seem to make the transition from small to big screen and everything is diluted so badly that 30 minutes in, you’re silently begging for sweet, sweet death (true story).
NOT the case here, I assure you.
As a fan of the original series, I gotta say the film did a GREAT job of taking a 30 minute tv show and turning it into a movie without ruining everything that was great about it in the first place. I know this is gonna get said A LOT but the ensemble effort in The Inbetweeners really does remind me of the first and second American Pie films (and deservedly so).
What made American Pie 1&2 great were that the friendships and chemistry between the guys that gave the film a natural, genuine feel instead of a forced, shove-it-down-your-throat, “We’ve been friends for forever, we assure you.” feeling that some films tend to give off, leaving you dirty and a little angry.
The men of The Inbetweeners have been successful in creating that same kind of chemistry and believability that’ll have you and your friends poking each other while saying “That’s you.” Jay’s, uh, creativity with deli meats also reminded me of Jim and the “pie incident.” I’m not gonna be able to eat deli meats out of certain shaped containers for a very long time but it was still funny as hell.
If I’m talking or yelling at characters on the screen (relax, I had a screener; I don’t ACTUALLY do that in a theatre, jeez), I know the directing/writing has done its job in keeping me emotionally invested. I must’ve yelled “OH MY GOD, YOU IDIOT” at Simon 15 times for being Captain Oblivious (and a complete sh*t); was genuinely touched by Jay’s epiphany as well as the relationship between he and Simon; laughed Will’s foibles as he tries to sleep with a beautiful girl while running into c*ckblocks every step of the way and Neil’s predilection for older ladies paired with his sweet dance moves are worth the ticket price as he dances without shame and a seriousness that would make Fosse proud.
The cool thing is I’m watching a film where four hormone-filled young men are doing and saying extraordinarily silly things that are wildly inappropriate but also weirdly appropriate at the same time when away from home without the parental units for the first time in their lives. And although I’m a girl, I enjoyed every minute of it just like I did with AP 1&2. Because it’s not just a film about four guys having adventures together, it’s about four FRIENDS having adventures together. And that, to paraphrase Robert Frost, has made all the difference.
For those of you who’ve never seen the show (and I’m not talking about the one on MTV), don’t panic. The director and writers were smart enough to write this film two different ways: A) for the fans, a goodbye to four boys we’ve spent 2 years with, and B) a standalone where prior knowledge is not needed. For those of you watching it as a standalone, my hope is that it will inspire you to fire up the Netflix Instant Queue and watch the series (series 3 hasn’t been added yet in the US but fingers crossed it will be soon).
The Frame Rate: Should you see this film? ABSOLUTELY. Will you have a good time (even if you’ve never seen the show)? ABSOLUTELY.
So from this humble fan, thanks to the boys and creator/writers Iain Morris and Damon Beasley for not f**king it up. Well done, Sirs. Eskimo kisses.
*The film opens in limited release tonight (including here in L.A.) so if you’re looking for a good time, hit the official site for showtimes (some of which feature Q&As with select cast members this weekend). If you live in L.A. and hit the Fri/Sat shows at the Landmark Regent, you’ll get Simon Bird (Will); Laemmle’s Monica, Joe Thomas (Simon); Boston, Blake Harrison (Neil) and in New York, James Buckley (Jay) and creator Iain Morris
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