The Inbetweeners Review
Let’s get the important bit out there straight away – The Inbetweeners is very funny. Sure, it sags a bit before as the third act starts and resorts to a few too many cheap shit (content and quality) gags towards the end, but I laughed pretty consistently. There is nothing new or revolutuionary about it. Will ‘Briefcase Wanker’ McKenzie and mates go abroad on a lads holiday – think Judd Apatow meets the ‘Brits abroad’ concept. However, I’m now going to put my ‘Pretentious Twat’ hat on and say why I felt a little cheated by a comedy I laughed at.
It’s not a film.
There is no reason for this to be on the big screen other than the £6.50 entry fee and the fact it’s taken £30M+ at the UK box office at the time of writing (to be fair, compelling reasons for those on the production side). There is nothing here that couldn’t have been achieved (in far tighter fashion) in a one-hour Christmas special. The format is by and large the same as the TV show, and there are a few awkward fades to black – almost as if grasping for an end credits or ad break. There is nothing about the story that is particularly cinematic – after a bit of a flourish during the opening credits and a well shot opening scene with Will’s father it settles into not looking terribly different from any other episode of the show, albeit with sun and sand rather than drizzle and indeterminate British suburbs.
“There is nothing about the story that is particularly cinematic”
Overall, though, the job done in translating it to the big screen isn’t bad – the pacing of the narrative is pretty decent and I’ve already said I laughed throughout. A lot of this, however, is really down to the setup of the show in the first instance. It’s part of the trend in British comedies (The Office being the first I can really remember) for single camera setups without a laugh track, and is exactly why a Red Dwarf film, for instance, wouldn’t have worked as well as the TV show (when they followed this format for the TV show, it didn’t really work). In this sense, the translation is easier and that’s why they got away with it a little bit.
At the end of the day, however, it is funny (inevitably not as funny as the TV series) and has survived the jump better than I thought it might. But make no mistake, as funny as it is, it’s not a film.